Study shows worldwide recovery of tuna and billfishes
A newly published paper has shown that populations of tuna and billfishes in the world's oceans have started to recover after decades of decline.
Since 1950, the global extinction risk of oceanic predatory fishes has continuously worsened as a result of rising and excessive fishing pressure. However, since the late 2000s, management actions have reduced fishing mortality, allowing for comebacks from tuna and billfishes (the latter includes Swordfish, marlin and other similar species).
After years of decline, the world's tuna populations have shown signs of recovery during the past decade (NOAA).
However, the research found that sharks remain undermanaged and their extinction risk continues to rise.
The next challenge for the fishing industry is to halt declines in shark species by setting clear biodiversity goals and targets, as well as implementing science-based conservation and fishery management measures and international trade regulations.
Tunas, billfishes and sharks are seen as sentinels of ocean health as they are apex predators that play a critical role in ocean ecosystems, and are well monitored by fisheries management organisations. They are also sensitive to the the impacts of fishing pressures.
The full paper can be accessed online here.
Juan-Jordá, M J, Murua, H, Arrizabalaga, H, Merino, G, Pacoureau, N, & Dulvy, N K. 2022. Seventy years of tunas, billfishes, and sharks as sentinels of global ocean health. Science vol 378, issue 6620. DOI: 10.1126/science.abj02