Extinction for the Bluefin?

The Bluefin Tuna is being fished to near extinction in many parts of the world. Common Dreams, a non-profit dedicated to social and political activism, reports that it will take only three years at the current rate of fishing these animals, ages four years and older, for them to disappear in the Mediterranean. It seems that the situation may be worse in parts of Asia, specifically Japan. Some solutions have been brought up; raising them on fish farms was one of them. But the natural environment that they need to survive is so large, due to the fact that their migratory pattern is so large and they swim up to 40 mph, and the cost would be so great that it doesn’t seem like a viable idea. There are Bluefin fishing regulations in the form of quotas in many countries, including the United States, but this does not seem to be decreasing the rate at which these animals are disappearing and it has created a problem on the free market.

These fish are highly sought after by many sushi lovers and restaurant chefs and owners. In its raw form, it is called sashimi. Because of this the Bluefin is sold for outrageous prices on auctions and the restaurateurs are in a bidding war, specifically in Japan, and do not seem to be considering the sustainability of these fish. In an article by Leo Lewis, Giant Bluefin tuna sells for £111,000 in Japan, it is mentioned that one single Bluefin Tuna was sold for £111,000. This is a 60% higher than those sold last year in these types of auctions. This trend does not seem to be subsiding.

Many restaurants are starting to take the sustainability of the food that they serve seriously. Much of this concern is a direct result of consumers and activists bringing the issue to the table and creating awareness on the subject. Websites like the Fish 2 Fork website are popping up all over the internet (http://fish2fork.com/apps/welcome/). This is a website that you can go to and see what your favorite restaurant received in regard to their impact on the ocean and marine life. For example, right here in our own backyard, Bamboo Sushi received 4.5 out of 5 and was commended by this site for its exhaustive efforts in maintaining sustainable food in their restaurant.

Not only do some countries want to limit consumption and fishing of the Bluefin, but many are trying to ban trade of these fish. The UK is one of those countries. Many of these bans are unpopular, but they seem to be growing in strength and support.

For more information on any of the information listed above, please see the links below:

News on the Bluefin Auctions- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6976664.ece

See restaurant scores at Fish 2 Fork - http://fish2fork.com/blog/2010/01/sushi-restaurants-need-sustainabilty-on-menu/

See what Common Dream is saying about the Bluefin - http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/04/14-0.

Ban on Blufin trade talk in the UK - http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/campaigning/marine_act_campaign/key_facts/?3181/UK-wants-bluefin-tuna-ban