Atlantic bluefin tuna not listed as an endangered species

Atlantic bluefin tuna will not be listed on the endangered species list, a decision released Wednesday. 

The federal government's final decision was published in the Canada Gazette saying it would not be listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada rejected advice to list the species as endangered last summer, saying western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have been rebuilding since 2011, when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said tuna should be listed as an endangered species under federal species-at-risk legislation.

Included in the decision was the government's rationale and the steps that will be taken to help in its recovery. If the species would have been listed on SARA, it would no longer have been allowed to be fished commercially.

Work to recover stock 'still far from done': EAC

The Ecology Action Centre in Halfax is calling on the government to take steps to work and conserve the species. 

While the Atlantic bluefin was assessed as endangered in 2011, the population has shown signs of increase over the past six years but is still below levels from the 1970s. 

"This species has been waiting in limbo for six years for a decision," said Katie Schleit, senior marine conservation coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. "But even by deciding not to list, the government is still obligated to take additional action. Work to conserve and recover the species is still far from done."

Next stock assessment this fall

EAC said by not listing the species, Fisheries and Oceans Canada' has to follow specific actions under the Fisheries Act to recover the stock.

Schleit said she'd like to see improved catch monitoring, including at-sea observers or cameras on boats catching bluefin.

"The case of the Atlantic bluefin will be a real test for DFO to show how seriously it takes the implementation of this policy," she said.

The next stock assessment for bluefin tuna is this fall. 

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