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Partner National Geographic Channel

  • Bluefin tuna are huge, powerful fish that have been living in the Atlantic Ocean for at least 40 million years. The species' population has dropped dramatically due to overfishing. Fishers keep up with the demand for the tuna meat, which is usually eaten sushi-style—raw. In the United States, fishing of bluefin tuna is highly regulated.

    1. How does bluefin tuna fishing in the United States compare with fishing of the species in other countries?

      Possible responses: In the United States, fishing of bluefin tuna is done by rod and reel and hand-thrown harpoons, whereas fishers in other countries may use heavy machinery and large fishing fleets. Only fish 185 centimeters (73 inches) or greater may be taken in the United States, whereas fishers in other countries may take fish as small as 69 centimeters (27 inches).

    2. In the United States, what regulations are in place to prevent overfishing of bluefin tuna?

      Possible responses: Fishers may only take bluefin tuna 185 centimeters (73 inches) long or greater. The fish may only be caught by rod and reel and hand-thrown harpoons. There is a strict quota each season; once the quota is reached the fishery is closed and no more bluefin may be caught. These laws are strictly enforced.

    3. Why must bluefin tuna be a minimum size in order for fishers to take them?

      The size minimum is in place so that the fish may spawn a few times prior to being caught.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    commercial fishing Noun

    industry responsible for catching and selling fish.

    fishery Noun

    industry or occupation of harvesting fish, either in the wild or through aquaculture.

    fishing ground Noun

    large area of the ocean where fish can usually be caught.

    fish stock Noun

    amount of fish available to be harvested in a specific area at a specific time.

    spawn Verb

    to give birth to.

    spawning grounds Noun

    area where fish come each year to reproduce.

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