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Bluefin Tuna Farms Come Under Fire


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Agriculture (Aquaculture)
--Life Sciences
--Physical Science
Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Much of the worlds tuna is raised on farms that many environmentalists would like to shut down.

Anticipation Guide

Have students identify on a world map the location of the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Point out that the Mediterranean is almost completely enclosed by land. Europe makes up much of its northern border, Africa its southern edge, and Western Asia its east coast.
  • Technically speaking, the Mediterranean Sea is part of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, which means inland" or in the middle of the earth" (from medius, middle" and terra, "earth").
  • The Mediterranean covers approximately 965,000 square miles.
  • The entry point to the Mediterranean, known as the Strait of Gibraltar, is only 9 miles wide.
  • On average, the Mediterranean is about a mile deep. Its deepest point is a bit more than 3 miles deep.
  • The Mediterranean played an important role in the history, trade, and culture of the ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, and Roman people, to name just a few.

    News Words

    Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: sushi, appetite, protein, mackerel, efficient, and quantities. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Fish, the white meat of chicken, milk, cheese, and yogurt are all excellent sources of _____. (protein)
  • Bats consume immense _____ of mosquitoes and other insects. (quantities)
  • If youre feeling tired and dont have much of an _____, you might have a case of the flu. (appetite)
  • The _____ is a slim fish with a cylindrical shape that is often eaten by tuna, dolphins, whales, and seagulls. (mackerel)
  • We just replaced our old kitchen appliances with new ones that make more _____ use of energy. (efficient)
  • It is not bad manners to eat ____ with your fingers. (sushi)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Bluefin Tuna Farms Come Under Fire.

    Reading the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • There are many bluefin farms -- sometimes called ranches" -- around the world. Tuna farming is sometimes called tuna penning or tuna aquaculture.
  • According to Richard Ellis, author of Tuna: A Love Story, tuna is a billion dollar industry. Tuna ships deploy helicopters in order to locate schools of tuna. Once a school is found, a large net (which can be more than 3 miles long) is cast around a school. The net is drawn tight at the bottom, like a purse, so that the fish cannot escape. The captured tuna are transported to ranches where they are fed twice a day for months or years before they are killed, packaged, and shipped off to consumers.
  • Farmed tuna is higher in oil content than wild tuna, which makes it desirable for sushi.
  • In 2001, 12 tuna farms operating in the Mediterranean produced more than half the traded bluefin tuna in the world.
  • Two international conservation groups -- the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace -- are among those that have sounded a warning about the expansion of tuna farming. The organizations say that tuna farming contributes to the growing overfishing of the world's most important bluefin tuna breeding population, which lives along the Spanish coast. The WWF predicts Mediterranean bluefin could be wiped out by 2012.
  • Bluefin tuna are meat eaters that eat a massive amount of fish; they eat approximately 10 percent of their body weight in fish per day. That puts a lot of pressure on the small-fish stocks and makes the tuna-farming approach an unsustainable one, according to environmentalists.
  • Kinki University in Japan is home to one of the few programs in the world to successfully raise bluefin tuna. The Kinki University's Fish Nursery Center is a closed farming system." That means the bluefin tuna raised in their ocean tanks were produced from hatched eggs, raised, and then fished for consumption. The fish have never been in the wild ocean.
  • "This is the first pond worldwide -- made in 2002 -- that contains completely farm-raised tuna," Tokihiko Okada, general manager of the nursery, told CNN. The tank is filled with 34 tuna. "They're seven years old now. We've been doing this closed system for three generations now, and they've been a success."

    After sharing the facts above, you might also share this video, which could be used to summarize the content of this weeks News for Kids news story.

    Use the News

    Print out this weeks Use the News printable activity page for students. Or use the questions on that page to check student comprehension.

    Use the News: Answer Key
    Reading for Understanding: Fact or Opinion? 1.F, 2.O, 3.O, 4.F, 5.F, 6.O, 7.F, 8.O, 9.O, 10.F.
    Language Practice: Building Vocabulary. 1.b, 2.b, 3.d, 4.b, 5.d.
    Reading for Meaning: What Does the Title Mean? c. Some people are speaking out against tuna farms and tuna farming.


    Use the Use the News printable activity page as an assessment (answers above). Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.3 Life Science
    NS.K-4.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.3 Life Science
    NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.3 Life Science
    NS.9-12.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.1 Civic Life, Politics, and Government
    NSS-C.5-8.3 Principles of Democracy
    NSS-C.5-8.4 Other Nations and World Affairs
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.1 Civic Life, Politics, and Government
    NSS-C.9-12.3 Principles of Democracy
    NSS-C.9-12.4 Other Nations and World Affairs
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Economics
    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-EC.K-4.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.K-4.7 Markets and Market Prices
    NSS-EC.K-4.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.K-4.9 Competition in the Marketplace
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-EC.5-8.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.5-8.7 Markets and Market Prices
    NSS-EC.5-8.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.5-8.9 Competition in the Marketplace
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-EC.9-12.1 Productive Resources
    NSS-EC.9-12.7 Markets and Market Prices
    NSS-EC.9-12.8 Supply and Demand
    NSS-EC.9-12.9 Competition in the Marketplace

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions
    NSS-G.K-12.3 Physical Systems
    NSS-G.K-12.4 Human Systems
    NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and Society
    NSS-G.K-12.6 Uses of Geography

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
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