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Sushi may be all the rage among the jet-set hipster crowd, but its growing appeal is putting the Giant Tuna in danger. The bluefin tuna, one of the world's greatest vertebrates, grows as large as 1,500 pounds and stretches 14 feet. It is a quick and nimble fish, sometimes swimming at speeds of 50 miles per hour. It can cross an entire own in a mere 50 days.
The bluefin's days of greatness may be fading. Environmentalists and some charter boat captains blame the sushi industry and the money lust of mankind as the primary culprits. A giant bluefin, any bluefin weighing more
than 310 pounds, can bring in $10,000 to $15,000, a exorbitant amount for a single fishnets high fat meat is desperately sought for Japan's sushi and sashimi market. An response to the heightened demand, the bluefin has been
over-fished and its numbers have dropped, causing prices to swell to more than $20 per pound.
` International fishing quotas were placed on the bluefin over a decade ago, there are only 10 percent of the bluefish population in Western waters when compared to the numbers obtained in 1970. Over-fishing has depleted the mature members of the bluefish species and this has a major
impact on its ability to breed. Bluefish must reach a certain maturity level before it can successfully spawn.
The National Audubon Society has formally proposed that the bluefin be officially placed on the endangered list and that international trade be banned. This may be the first time a commercial fish has been placed on this
exclusive list.
The tuna industry refutes such accusations of over-fishing and maintains that they only fish for the smaller members of the breed.