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Tuna contributes 42.2 billion annually to global economy

Staff writer |
Fishing vessels catch enough tuna to contribute more than $42 billion to the global economy annually, according to a report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The value of tuna is greater than the GDP of at least 108 countries.
The report, Netting Billions: A Global Valuation of Tuna, estimates the worldwide value of the primary commercial fisheries targeting the seven most commercially important tuna species caught in 2012 and 2014.

The analysis found that the amount paid to fishermen ranged from $10 billion to $12 billion a year, while the full value—including the total amount paid by the final consumer at supermarkets and restaurants around the world—was at least $42 billion in 2014.

The value of tuna is greater than the gross domestic product of at least 108 countries. According to the data, the total catch in the Pacific Ocean has the highest value, estimated at $22 billion in 2014.

When the estimated value is analyzed by species, skipjack tuna—most often found in cans—is worth more than all bluefin species, but only because of the volume of skipjack caught every year.

If value is considered by individual fish, bluefin is by far the most highly prized. Together, bluefin species generate at least $2 billion to $2.5 billion a year in the global marketplace.

Pew’s report concludes that the value of global tuna stocks can increase if fishery managers take a comprehensive and precautionary approach to managing these populations, some of which are overfished.

Scientists recently concluded that the Pacific bluefin tuna population has declined by 97.4 percent from its historic unfished levels. Likewise, bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific have declined by 84 percent.

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