Can the bluefin survive?

Here’s an update on our bluefin tuna post from this summer: Back then the EU had closed the Mediterranean bluefin season early, a shocking departure for what’s always been a functionally laissez-faire industry. It was a rare fish-positive development. (For more on the marvelous bluefin, see Richard Ellis’s new book Tuna: A Love Story.)

Now The Economist reports on a new study finding that even an outright ban probably won’t keep the bluefin population in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean from collapsing. Which—and I’m just guessing here—isn’t exactly what fishery management plans are supposed to accomplish. The relevant management agency—the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), widely derided as the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tunas—has routinely refused to set scientifically based quotas or demand that its member countries curb illegal fishing. But this time even ICCAT has acknowledged the gravity of the situation: It’s considering new management rules. Heavens!

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