Would we still be fishing bluefin tuna if they were as cute as pandas?
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Image taken from from a campaign to prevent over-fishing of bluefin tuna by WWF France.
If bluefin tuna were as cute and cuddly as giant pandas, maybe governments would be a little more prompt to protect them. With this in mind, the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd launched an awareness-raising campaign titled: “When you see a Bluefin Tuna, think Panda", featuring a series of bloody fishing scenes where the tunas have been replaced by the black and white bears. Wildlife conservation group WWF launched a similar campaign, featuring bluefins wearing various endangered species masks.
According to scientists from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the number of adult red tunas capable of breeding has declined by 80% in the past 20 years. At this rate, Sea Shepherd estimates that breeding bluefin populations could disappear from our oceans as early as 2012.
For further reading, see our article on unattractive endangered species: Too Ugly to Protect?