5 Feb 2015

Pacific yellow fin could be inedible in 50 years

9:51 am on 5 February 2015

A new study led by the University of Michigan suggests that the pacific's premium yellow fin tuna may be inedible in 50 years time.

Cook Island workers handling a yellow fin tuna that was off-loaded from a fishing ship into a shipping container in Avarua on Rarotonga.

Yellow Fin tuna in the Cook Islands. Photo: Marty Melville / AFP

The report which used findings from reports published in 1971, 1998 and 2008 concludes that mercury concentrations in the highly migratory yellow fin tuna species caught near Hawaii were increasing by nearly four percent a year.

Co author of the report Associate Professor Carl Lamborg from the University of California at Santa Cruz says mercury concentrations in yellow fin tuna today are already higher than some conservative consumption advisory estimates.

" In the next 50 years we'll put as much mercury into the environment as we have put in the environment in the last 150 years. So moving forward into the future, I think even if yellow fin tuna are relatively low now, I think we ought to be worried about where they're headed. That really is more the important take home of this story."

The University of California's Carl Lamborg.