11 Jul 2011

Five tuna species on list of threatened species

6:54 am on 11 July 2011

Five of eight tuna species have been included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

The group says these species are threatened or close to extinction due to overfishing.

The head of IUCN's Marine Biodiversity Unit, Ken Carpenter, says it took four years to collect data on the tuna species.

Dr Carpenter says the most efficient way to avoid collapse is to shut down the fisheries until stocks are rebuilt to healthy levels.

He says one of the reasons these fishes are a priority is because they are the one of the top predators in the ocean.

"Their removal will having affect on the ecosystem as a whole so it not only affects the species itself but also many other species can be affected by their extinction."

Dr Ken Carpenter says he hopes the information will be used at a meeting this week of the world's five regional fisheries management organisations in California.