Mitsubishi making bluefin tuna extinct

From British daily The Independent:

Revealed: the bid to corner world’s bluefin tuna market

Mitsubishi freezing fish to sell later as stock numbers plummet toward extinction

By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Japan’s sprawling Mitsubishi conglomerate has cornered a 40 per cent share of the world market in bluefin tuna, one of the world’s most endangered fish.

A corporation within the £170bn Mitsubishi empire is importing thousands of tonnes of the fish from Europe into Tokyo’s premium fish markets, despite stocks plummeting towards extinction in the Mediterranean.

Bluefin tuna frozen at -60C now could be sold in several years’ time for astronomical sums if Atlantic bluefin becomes commercially extinct as forecast, a result of the near free-for-all enjoyed by the tuna fleet.

A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at an auction in Tokyo, Japan Saturday, reports the Associated Press: here.

WWF and tuna: here.

Juvenile bluefin tunas can dive to depths of more than 1000 meters: here.

Protests over tuna industry development plans in Papua New Guinea: here.

Sushi lovers should think twice before ordering another helping of maguro rolls. Mercury levels in restaurant tuna sushi are higher than those of supermarket tuna sushi, a new study reveals: here.

Environmentalists Slam ICCAT for “Meagre” Bluefin Quota Cuts: here.

November 2010: New data seen by WWF and Greenpeace reveal that the 2010 fishing activities for Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea have been as riddled with rule-flouting and traceability shortcomings as ever before. The conservation organisations are urging international fisheries regulators to put an end to the depletion of this key species as they meet in Paris: here.

Bluefin tuna still largely unprotected as conservation conference ends: here.

So many reasons to not choose Bluefin for your meal! Here.

WWF uncovers massive unreported trade of Atlantic Bluefin tuna through Panama: here.

Far more bluefin sold than reported caught: report here.

Rare white bluefin tuna arrives at Tsukiji Market, what a shame: here.

October 2012. WWF has welcomed the first positive signs of stock increase in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock revealed in the recent scientific assessment by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which -if confirmed- would mean a turning point for this threatened species: here.

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) spawn in Japanese waters before swimming to the Californian coast. Researchers who tested 15 fish caught after the [Fukushima] disaster in March 2011 found that all contained traces of caesium-134, a water-soluble radioisotope spewed into the ocean by the meltdown. Fish that travelled to California before 2011 did not carry the isotope. The results were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: here.

Greenpeace warns Taiwan against dismantling tuna protection: here.

Tuna washes ashore on Isle of Mull: here.

How sustainable is tuna? New global catch database exposes dangerous fishing trends: here.

Understanding the impact of modern fishing techniques is critical to ensure the sustainability of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery — the largest tuna fishery in the world that accounts for 55% of the total tropical tuna catch and provides up to 98% of government revenue for some Pacific Island nations: here.

30 thoughts on “Mitsubishi making bluefin tuna extinct


    Stop Massive World Bank (IFC) Supported Expansion of PNG Industrial Tuna Fish Harvest

    By Asples PNG (People of Papua New Guinea), a project of Ecological Internet
    October 15, 2009

    Over-fishing comes to Madang, Papua New Guinea, as local peoples prepare to resist 10 tuna canneries. Support indigenous South Pacific coastal peoples as they are peacefully protesting right now!


    In the peaceful South Pacific town of Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the local indigenous people are being inundated with foreign industrial “development” projects — mines, logging and fisheries — for which they have not been properly consulted, have not given their informed consent, and from which they are unlikely to meaningfully benefit. This includes the PNG government’s and World Bank/IFC’s plans with China and Japan’s governments to facilitate and invest in the construction of ten new tuna fish canneries and a large central warehouse and worker settlement along Madang’s beautiful coconut lined north coast. A tranquil village culture — living simply but well from small-scale fishing — will be decimated.
    A US$300 million (K990m) Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) is planned that will greatly increase industrial harvest of Madang, PNG and the Pacific Islands’ rich tuna resources. Canneries and dock and storage facilities are to be constructed to service foreign fishing vessels that would dump their tuna catch. It will bring tens of thousands of unskilled Asians into Papua New Guinea when local unemployment is high. And it most certainly will lead to fishery depletion and collapse. Unless this expansion of an already socially and ecologically failed industrial tuna industry is resisted, overfishing and piracy will destroy PNG and most of the world’s remaining tuna and other fisheries.

    “Surviving the Cannery”





    Papua New Guineans Protest World Bank’s Ill-Conceived Expansion of Pacific Tuna Fish Harvest

    Peaceful protestors make clear PMIZ ecologically unsustainable, corruption is epidemic and democracy threatened in Papua New Guinea

    October 20, 2009

    From Asples PNG and Earth’s Newsdesk, projects of Ecological Internet (EI)

    Continue Taking Action Online at:

    (MADANG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA) — Over 500 people gathered at the Madang Provincial Government Headquarters on Thursday, October 15th, to protest Papua New Guinea governments’ support for the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ). The PMIZ, at Vidar along the North Coast Road, is expected to be one of the biggest tuna developments in the Asia-Pacific region. Local peoples rallied to express strong opposition to PMIZ and presented a petition to the Government calling on them to halt the project. Online, thousands of global protesters from around the world supported local peoples’ demands [1].

    Men, women and children sat in front of the Madang provincial government building with placards that read ‘No more PMIZ’, ‘We want our land back – think about our future’, while others proclaimed ‘We do not want PMIZ – it will destroy our sea [2]’. The crowd was peaceful but frustrated. They also informed the government that a formal complaint has begun with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), and that legal actions are imminent against all parties involved.

    The planned US$300 million (K990m) PMIZ project will greatly increase industrial harvest of Madang, PNG and the Pacific Islands’ rich tuna resources. Canneries and dock and storage facilities are to be constructed to service foreign fishing vessels that would dump their tuna catch. It will bring tens of thousands of unskilled Asians into Papua New Guinea when local unemployment is high. And it most certainly will lead to fishery depletion and collapse. Unless PMIZ is resisted, overfishing and piracy will destroy PNG and much of the world’s remaining tuna fisheries.

    PMIZ would build 10 tuna factories and processing facilities like the current Filipino RD Tuna cannery. The existing plant has previously been shut down for birds defecating into tuna cans fined for poor waste disposal, and employee relations are poor. Benefits have been limited to assembly line jobs for women who make K80 a fortnight (~ $USD26). Villagers have been affected by the “sex for tuna trade” where local women trade sex for fish by-catches.

    The PMIZ project is being strongly driven from Port Moresby, the ruling National Alliance and their Chinese partners. The PNG national government, which is rushing the project through despite local opposition, tried to revoke permission for this democratic assembly and expression of concerns. The march had been approved by the provincial police authorities, but a government minister complained to Police Headquarters, who overturned the decision and banned the march. Still, people bravely marched.

    This led Opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta to ask “In whose interests is the country being governed? A foreign power? Foreign business interests? Illegal immigrants? Certainly not for Papua New Guineans. Section 46 of our Constitution expressly provides for freedom of expression; Section 47 provides for the right to freedom of assembly and association; Section 57 provides for enforcement of these guaranteed rights and freedoms… This is yet another example of the trend of this Government of turning PNG into a Mugabe-type regime.”

    Local people are increasingly expressing a sense of distance from the government, and are becoming angry. It is widely thought that PMIZ is for the overseas companies, the Chinese, the corrupt politicians and those few locals they have bought off. Said one young person, “the government doesn’t give a ****. They just want the money for themselves. They are not thinking of us or our future or what damage this project will do to the people of Madang. Hell they don’t even think we have a brain . What do they think we’re going to do – just listen to their **** and accept it? They better not make that mistake.”

    Plans are to follow the same foreign investment driven development model, to quickly industrially over-develop the tuna resource, which has exhausted fisheries globally wherever practiced. It is not clear how PMIZ can benefit local peoples, as they will be left with no options but to work for the cannery under whatever conditions it chooses. Following the legally questionable ground breaking ceremony in June of 2009, the Madang Lagoon communities have begun holding meetings to explore collective organized actions to permanently block PMIZ.

    Local communities are concerned about environment, pollution and land issues. More ecologically sustainable management — such as a locally owned and controlled mid-size purse-seine fish industry — could provide fish and income in perpetuity for the people of Madang. A deeply corrupt political system is selling out the land rights, resources and future ecological sustainability of its peoples for a small group to enjoy short-term profit and bribery. This industrial export model enjoys tax holidays, enriches primarily the Chinese-owned trade stores with the small amounts of wage money entering the economy, pollutes local seas, disturbs coastal fisheries and threatens Madang’s tourism industry.

    Over 75% of the world’s ocean fisheries — some 19 out of 24 — are being, or have already been, overexploited. Billions of people depend upon wild caught fish protein, and Pacific and PNG fisheries are some of the last healthy wild fish stocks on the planet. Many Asian and European industries and consumers are in need of Pacific fish now, as their own fisheries are collapsing. The EU is RD Tuna’s biggest market, with Germany and Ireland the primary export markets.


    [1] Still current at

    [2] Pictures can be found at:

    Discuss release:


  3. Giant tuna sold for £250,000

    JAPAN: A giant bluefin tuna fetched a record 32.49 million yen (£250,000) in Tokyo today, in the first auction of the year at the world’s largest wholesale fish market.

    Tsukiji market spokesman Yutaka Hasegawa said that the price for the 342kg tuna beat the previous record set in 2001 when a 202kg fish sold for 20.2m yen (£157,000).


  4. Tuna trading more than doubles quota

    BELGIUM: Over twice as much of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is traded than allowed for by catch quotas, threatening the survival of the species.

    The Pew Environment Group said that the figure does not even take into account the black market.

    The European Commission said in response that it would table a proposal for electronic surveillance at the November 11-19 meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna in Istanbul.


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