Conservation & Science

John Kerry: It’s time to act for Pacific bluefin tuna

For John Kerry, saving the ocean is a “life or death” issue. As an ocean champion in Congress, and as Secretary of State, securing a healthy future for the ocean was central to his public service. Now he has joined with conservation leaders and with some of the world’s top chefs in a call for immediate action to recover one of the most valuable—and depleted—fish in the ocean, Pacific bluefin tuna:

John Kerry has been an ocean advocate, in Congress and as Secretary of State.

“Of all the environmental progress achieved in recent years, it is particularly important that the one direct line that so many, from a wide variety of different backgrounds and ideologies, have drawn is between the fate of our oceans and our existence, our economic well-being, and the diversity of human cultures around the world. Whether it’s through the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals or the Our Ocean Conferences, which I founded as Secretary of State, or through groundbreaking work in corporations and philanthropies, together the international community has elevated the centrality of the oceans to our global responsibilities.

Bluefin tuna awaiting sale at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Japan consumes 90 percent of the world’s bluefin tuna catch.

“Still, far too often, we continue to treat the ocean as a commodity resource only to be bought and sold. Bluefin tuna are one of the most coveted breed of fish on Earth and are a sad yet perfect example of how our oceans continue to be ravaged on a daily basis, in ways that threaten not just a species, but which undermine economic prosperity in the long run.

“Unsustainable fishing isn’t just the enemy of conservation, it’s the enemy of fishermen everywhere. We know we can do better. That is why we should all be invested in the difficult task of turning things around and getting Pacific bluefin tuna on a path to recovery. The recovery of bluefin tuna is possible – but it will require a strong international commitment to follow the science and to hold all countries accountable.

Pacific bluefin tuna schooling. Photo courtesy NOAA

“The population of Pacific bluefin tuna is in significantly worse condition than anything we have seen in the Atlantic. It is time to put politics aside and galvanize action from all Pacific nations to work together to recover this species before it’s too late. The credibility of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is at stake, and the international community should not accept further delay.

“This is not an easy task but we must band together and try before it’s too late, and in doing so demonstrate that doing what’s smart is also in the world’s economic best interest.”

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