Fish Once Pushed To The Brink Of Extinction Resurfaces In A Remarkable Return

Source: Flickr/A.Davey

Conservation is an important conversation to be had on the public stage, particularly in light of rising temperatures of the planet. Scientists believe that the earth is currently in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event that the planet has seen, and there are many who are looking into ways to mitigate or halt that process.

Mass Extinction Events Through the Millennia

Mass extinction events are periods of time that are marked by significant adjustment in the diversity of the planet. There have been five mass extinction events that can be traced through the fossil record, with the last mass extinction event being the one that took out the dinosaurs.

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That particular extinction event wiped out more than 75% of life on earth. It caused the extinction of all non-avian dinosaurs, as well as a significant number of other types of four-legged animals. Crocodilians and some other aquatic species thrived in the aftermath of this extinction event, and some of their ancestors can be seen in life on the planet today.

Smaller Extinction Events Are Similar

That is the last mass extinction event in the fossil record, though it must be stated that mass extinction events are seldomly different from smaller extinction events that can be traced through the fossil record. Life on earth is constantly shifting and changing, and animals and plants going extinct is simply a part of life on the planet.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Jebulon

Scientists believe that the current theoretical extinction event that the planet is experiencing is different, though. Where the other extinction events on record can be largely traced to natural disasters or inevitable global shifts, the current mass extinction event is hypothetically happening as a direct result of human intervention.

Human Intervention Has Accelerated Things

Scientists believe that the natural life cycle of evolution and extinction has been wildly accelerated by the intervention of humans. Hunting, industrialization, modernization, and global warming have all had a massive impact on the planet, and extinction of species is unfortunately a side effect of all of it.

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From the dodo bird to the Northern White Rhino, there are multiple cases of highly public animal extinctions that many people are, if not knowledgeable on, at least aware of. While public knowledge generally doesn’t touch on the different types of extinctions and vulnerabilities that plants and animals can be subjected to, most people are at least aware that there’s a problem.

A Shift in Attitudes Towards Conservation

This awareness is, in part, what has caused a significant cultural shift regarding conservation and preservation of species. As knowledge about global warming and the human impact on our planet becomes more detailed and specific, there are many who have taken up the cause of planet conservation in order to make a statement and make things better for the next generation.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/William Crochot

These efforts into conservation have led to the resurgence of some species, much to the joy of conservationists. One particularly public example of the success of conservation is the Chinese Panda bear, which has been brought back from the brink of extinction in the wild due to the efforts of conservationists and zoological breeding programs.

Looking to the Ocean

Animals on land are not the only ones who have been the focus of conservation efforts, though. While it’s true that the ocean is largely unexplored territory, with new species and animals being discovered every day through research, there are some significant examples of human impact being felt even in deep waters.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Brocken Inaglory

Sharks and various species of fish and aquatic mammals have, at different times, found themselves the targets of conservation efforts. Diversity in the ocean is particularly important for the health of the planet, as scientists are discovering, making the protection of many of these native species of utmost importance.

The Fishing Industry’s Impact on Conservation

The importance of this has been significantly increased due to outside influences. Notably, the fishing industry. Overfishing has led to the threat of species extinction more than once in the past, with whales being a significant example of this.

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Some species, such as humpback whales, have responded well to conservation efforts. Others, such as blue whales are still considered endangered, with conservation efforts being particularly focused on these threatened species. Whales are not the only marine life who have found themselves the target of conservation efforts, though.

The Giant Bluefin Tuna

Notably, some fish have found themselves the focus of efforts due to significant overfishing in industry. Some species of fish are particularly desirable for fishing, both for sport and food, and this desirability has led to reduced populations across the globe.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/FishWatch

The giant bluefin tuna are one such species. They are a species of tuna that can be seen in oceans all around the world, and have been highly prized as both a food fish and a sporting fish for decades. Bluefins have been recorded up to 1500 pounds in weight, and rival the blue marlin and the swordfish as the largest perciformes (ray-finned fish).

Added to the Endangered Species List

The giant bluefin has been the foundation and the subject of one of the world’s largest commercial fishing industries. Medium and large individuals have been sought after and heavily targeted for the Japanese raw-fish market, and this desirability has led to a massive issue with overfishing.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/aes256

In 2009, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas confirmed that giant bluefin tuna populations had significantly decreased across the world. That same year, Monaco recommended the giant bluefin to be added to the endangered species list, and placed under a trade ban.

Local Regulations Working for the Benefit of the Fish

Though the tuna was not ultimately recommended for a worldwide trade ban, local regulations slowly started to work towards revitalizing populations of this important fish. The fish was locally designated as endangered by the British government, but slowly started to return to the area in 2014.

Source: Pinterest/ecoosfera

This was after a ban on commercial fishing of the bluefin tuna for nearly 60 years. The problem of overfishing of the fish was particularly insidious in the eastern Atlantic region, and drastic measures needed to be taken in order to assist the local population in replenishing.

Conservation Efforts Paying Off

Local research shows that the efforts have paid off in a big way. After a three year catch-and-release program that was aimed at researching the giant bluefin tuna, scientists have enough data to conclude that the populations of the deep-sea fish have rebounded in a big way.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Ratki

The wild population of giant bluefin tuna now numbers in the thousands, enough that it has been removed from the endangered species list, and is now listed in the category of Least Concern. It’s a major success story of conservation efforts, and many people are thrilled to see the fish available for commercial and sport fishing again.

Commercial and Sport Fishing Resuming

Fishing the giant bluefin won’t be a free-for-all going forward, though. The industry will be highly regulated for both sport and industry, given recent studies that show that regulations have very little impact on the fishing industry.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Dzikra Imron

Recreational fishers are thrilled at the return of the bluefin tuna. For many, catching one of these enormous fish is a bucket list activity, and a bonding activity with friends and family. Resuming sport fishing of tuna in regulated areas is a significant stepping stone for conservation efforts, and proves the success of funding and awareness.

Further Steps for the Bluefin

The bluefish population rebounding is not the end of the story, though. While it is a wild story of conservational success, it’s only the beginning. Maintaining stable populations of the giant bluefin tuna will almost certainly require further efforts in the future.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/National Marine Sanctuaries

One of the steps that may need to be taken is expanding conservation efforts to the mackerel fish, which is an important food source for the giant bluefin tuna. The mackerel, despite being regulated by local and international governments, has also faced a problem with overfishing by the commercial fishing industry, and may need some attention in order to help maintain healthy global populations.

And for the Planet

While the story of the giant bluefin tuna is not at an end, the resurgence of populations around the world is a heartening sign, both for the planet and for conservationists. Having a significant success story like the giant bluefin tuna allows for better messaging with those who have the funds to make things happen.

Source: Wikimedia Commons/Danilo Cedrone

This messaging and funding is becoming increasingly important as the years go on, and it’s clear that conservationists have their work cut out for them. Earth is full of incredibly precious resources, and given that we only have one planet to work with, it falls on humanity to utilize and protect those resources responsibly.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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