Pacific Bluefin Tuna Won't Be Added to Endangered Species List

Year-long federal assessment determines species' future is improving.

Pacific bluefin tuna will not be added to the Endangered Species Act list.Courtesy Center for Biological Diversity

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) has rejected a proposal to add Pacific bluefin tuna to the Endangered Species Act. The American Sportfishing Association released a statement approving the move.

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's science-based decision affirms the ASA's position that international efforts are needed to conserve and build Pacific bluefin tuna stocks, however, it’s important to understand that these popular sport fish are in no way endangered," says Scott Gudes, ASA’s government affairs vice president.

NOAA conducted a year-long review after a coalition of environmental-based organizations proposed that bluefin tuna fishing be banned in U.S. waters. In June 2016, that coalition — including the Center for Biological Diversity, The Ocean Foundation, Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, Mission Blue, Recirculating Farms Coalition, The Safina Center, SandyHook SeaLife Foundation, Sierra Club, Turtle Island Restoration Network and WildEarth Guardians — made the petition to add the species to the endangered list.

The ASA, and other recreational fishing groups, stated in December 2016 that Pacific bluefin tuna stocks are recovering — and all but five percent of the fishery occurs outside U.S. waters in Asia and Mexico. NOAA said in its decision that the species is "on a positive trajectory."