MONITORING REPORT ISB: The Pacific Bluefin Tuna, a fish used in sushi and sashimi dishes, is at risk of extinction as the global food market places “unsustainable pressure” on the species and others, a conservation body has warned.

The tuna joined the Chinese pufferfish, American eel, Chinese cobra and Australian black grass-dart butterfly on the International Union for Conservation of Natures (IUCN) “red list” of threatened species.

“Each update of this red list makes us realise our planet is regularly losing its incredible diversity of life, mainly due to our destructive actions to satisfy our growing appetite for resources,” IUCNs Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre said.

“But we have scientific proof that protected areas can play a central role in reversing this trend,” she added.

The tuna moved from the “least concern” threat category to “vulnerable” as the species is threatened with extinction due to its use in Asias sushi and sashimi markets, she said.

As most of the fish caught are juveniles that have not yet reproduced, the population has dropped by 19-33 per cent over the past 22 years.

“We gravely need to impose strict limits on harvesting and take appropriate measures to protect habitats,” she added.

Two species, the Malaysian mollusc plectostoma sciaphilum and the St Helena Giant Earwig, were declared extinct due to habitat destruction.

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