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Tuna Rights Day – April 21, 2023

Tuna Rights Day is observed on April 21 every year. The point of the holiday is to raise awareness about the importance of tuna and tuna-like fish in our ecosystem. They are not just nutrient-rich food sources, but also an integral part of the marine food chain. Due to the heightened demand for tuna for human consumption, the tuna population is being depleted at unsustainable levels. World Tuna Day has been celebrated for the same reason as Tuna Rights Day since 2016. These days highlight the importance of the mindful consumption of sustainably-sourced tuna wherever possible.

History of Tuna Rights Day

Tuna has been fished and consumed by people for thousands of years. One of the first mentions of tuna was in 350 B.C. by Greek philosopher Aristotle in his work “History of Animals.” Ancient Roman author Pliny the Elder recommended eating tuna to treat ulcers. Tuna has also been an integral part of the diets of the Japanese and Pacific Islanders since the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are over a dozen species of tuna. This availability of different species spurred the establishment of tuna fisheries across the world, wherever certain species were most abundant. By the early 1900s, humans were trying to perfect the process of canning fish. Initial attempts to can sardines weren’t very popular, so Albert P. Halfhill, co-founder of the Southern California Fish Company, decided to switch them out for albacore tuna. Canned tuna became a near-instant hit with consumers after its sale began in 1904. By the 1930s, Albacore tuna were nowhere to be found, seemingly disappearing from the coast of California altogether, thus forcing fishermen to look for tuna supplies elsewhere. During the Second World War, tuna boats were used to deliver supplies, and the U.S. had begun shipping canned tuna to American soldiers stationed in other countries. By 1954, the U.S. was the world’s biggest producer of canned tuna.

Today, overfishing has been recognized as a major threat to the ecological stability of the world. The rapid consumption of tuna now threatens to disrupt the marine food chain. Skipjack yellowfin, Atlantic bluefin, Southern bluefin, Pacific bluefin, big-eye, and Albacore tuna were recognized as being either overexploited or endangered in a 2007 United Nations report.

Tuna Rights Day timeline

1904
Canned Tuna Hits the Market

The sale of canned albacore tuna begins in the United States.

1930s
Albacore Tuna Vanish

Albacore tuna seemingly vanish from the coast of California due to overfishing.

1954
The Biggest Supplier of Canned Tuna

The United States becomes the world’s largest supplier of canned tuna.

2007
Tuna in Trouble

The U.N. recognizes several tuna species as endangered or overexploited.

Tuna Rights Day FAQs

Who started eating tuna first?

It is likely that the people in the Mediterranean region were the first to eat tuna.

Do sharks eat tuna?

Yes, they do. Tuna is a common food source for sharks.

Do tuna have predators?

Tuna is eaten by large predators like sharks, killer whales, and pilot whales.

How to Observe Tuna Rights Day

  1. Read up on overfishing

    Spend the day educating yourself about the overfishing of tuna. This will help you to understand why it’s such a threat to the planet.

  2. Find ethically-sourced fish around you

    If you have the means to make the shift, find sustainably-sourced fish available near you. Buy only from these sources.

  3. Talk about it on social media

    One of the biggest hurdles in the conservation of the tuna population is that not many people know it’s in danger. Spread the word and lend your voice to the conversation on social media.

5 Important Facts About Tuna

  1. A large fish

    Tuna can reach a length of 6.5 feet.

  2. Fast swimmers

    Tuna can travel up to 62 miles per hour.

  3. A carnivore

    Tuna are predators that feed on different types of fish.

  4. Oxygen supply

    Tuna gain oxygen supply from swimming and can suffocate if stagnant for too long.

  5. Its lifespan

    A tuna in wild waters can live up to 20 years.

Why Tuna Rights Day is Important

  1. It raises awareness

    The endangerment of the tuna species is a very serious concern. Tuna Rights Day, rightfully, brings it to light.

  2. It’s a reminder to assess your consumption patterns

    The overconsumption of tuna can be curbed by making more informed decisions. The day serves as a reminder to evaluate our consumption patterns.

  3. It generates conversation

    The world is wrought with issues to talk about. Tuna Rights Day is a reminder to talk about this particular issue and consider solutions.

Tuna Rights Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 21Friday
2024April 21Sunday
2025April 21Monday
2026April 21Tuesday
2027April 21Wednesday

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