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The Number of Bluefin Tuna in the Pacific Has Shrunk by 97 Percent

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Bad news for sushi lovers

Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Attention, sushi lovers: If you haven't already given up on eating severely overfished bluefin tuna, soon you might not have a choice in the matter. Things aren't looking good for the prized fish: The population of Pacific bluefin tuna has shrunk by more than 97 percent since the 1960s, according to an as-yet-unreleased report from the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean.

Conservationists have long warned that the popular sushi species was being fished at unsustainable rates; if changes aren't made soon, they warn a complete ban on commercial bluefin fishing could be imminent. The way things are currently going, "the likelihood of rebuilding [Pacific bluefin] stocks to healthy levels is only 0.1 percent."

80 percent of the worldwide bluefin catch is consumed in Japan, where they regularly fetch record prices. There are two other species of bluefin, Southern and Atlantic, and while populations of all three have dwindled over the past 15 years thanks to increased demand, Pacific has been hit the hardest.

Watch a video from Time on the current state of the bluefin tuna, below: