Saturday, February 27, 2010

The End of the Line: Join the Campaign

The End of the Line, an independently funded documentary which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released in the US and UK in 2009. The documentary, which focuses on the overfishing of bluefin tuna, was filmed over two years and follows investigative reporter Charles Clover as he travels the world conducting interviews with people such as politicians and restauranteurs, who seem to care little about the extinction of bluefin tuna. The film explains exactly how consumers are managing to destroy bluefin tuna populations, but also focuses on the seafood industry as a whole.

Scientists in this film claim that if we continue fishing the world's oceans the way that we are, that MOST SEAFOOD in the world's oceans will be depleted by 2048! Hence its subtitle, "Imagine a World Without Fish." Not only would that be sad to fish lovers, but would cause starvation on mass levels in nations which rely on fish consumption for protein.

The film is not against fishing, but has three simple messages: ONLY eat sustainable seafood, get the message out to politicians, and to join their extensive campaign to save not only bluefin tuna but all seafood. More information on this film can be found at http://endoftheline.com/.

This is a great documentary! Please watch it and tell your friends about it!

More information will be posted if a local showtime is confirmed, but the film is also available on Netflix.

United States Has Yet to Take a Position on the Upcoming CITES Vote

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is set to take place in March, which will include a vote on whether or not to ban the international trade of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, but President Obama has yet to provide any public opinion on whether the United States will support the ban or not. The trade ban, proposed by Monaco, would not prohibit the sale of bluefin tuna within a nation, and would not affect the Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Domestic fishermen claim the ban would unfairly affect nations which will honor the ban, compared to others who claim they will not, such as Japan, and that bluefin tuna should be managed by ICCAT and not by CITES. For more information, please read this article from Gloucester, Massachusetts.
http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/local_story_053221413.html

Bluefin tuna fishermen in the Northeastern United States have obtained support from 15 members of Congress in a letter released last week. The members publicly opposing the ban are from Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire, states whose local fishermen would be affected by the ban. John Kerry did not sign the letter but has not yet taken a stand on the issue. An NOAA spokeswoman said last week that an Obama administration position is being developed with the NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be released soon.

However, it is not to late to have your voice heard if you want the United States to support the CITES ban. The PEW environmental group has a pre-written letter which you can automatically send to Congress, located here:
http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/BluefinTunaCITESListing_Two

Or you can write to President Obama or your local Senators and Representatives. Type in your zip code to obtain their contact information at www.congress.org.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dinosaurs Extinct! What’s next? Bluefin Tuna!

by L Fashing

Should Bluefin Tuna become extinct from over eating, over fishing and over paying?

It shouldn’t have too.

In the past several weeks this blog has been providing knowledgeable informatoin about the current issues of Bluefin Tuna’s possible extinction. Scientists and researchers have been warning us about the “overuse” of Bluefin Tuna for several years and it is time to stop, listen and make our voices heard –prevent Bluefin Tuna from becoming “extinct”.

You can choose alternatives to Bluefin Tuna therefore by reducing demand - will reduce the need. Sushi chefs, celebrities, sport fisher people are using their voices to express their concern of putting Bluefin Tuna into “extinction”.

You! Yes, you. You “can” make a difference. Start today. Tell someone you know. Ask for an alternative choice.

2 Great Tools --

iPhone app to get Seafood Watch Recommendations. Go to: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx

“Thank you” or “Become Aware” of environmentally responsible seafood cards to give to a restaurant. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_ThankYouPostcard.pdf

Friday, February 19, 2010

Offering Alternatives to Bluefin Tuna Sushi

Trevor Corson, the author of “The Story of Sushi”, is creating national awareness to the impending extinction of bluefin tuna and offers sustainable alternatives. By establishing himself as a “Sushi Concierge”, he teaches people on the traditions of sushi. It wasn’t until recently that the bluefin tuna was even added to the list of fish used in sushi. By offering alternatives and educating people, he hopes to change the minds of all that consume sushi.

The following video was created for a Japanese news station.




Created by Tanya E.

Survey

In order to assist us in creating a more rewarding blog page, we are requesting everyone to complete the Sustainable Fish Survey on the right hand side of the page under Ecomerge. The survey consists of only ten questions and will take only a few minutes to complete. Thank you for participating and we look forward to your feedback.
Sincerely,
The Ecomerge Team

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TAG-A-GIANT: Helping to Learn More About Bluefin

By Kyle Laszlo


The Tag-A-Giant program, started in 1994 by Stanford University, has been working towards building knowledge about the Bluefin Tuna in order to help maintain the tuna in captivity and help with conservation efforts of the species. As of 2006, it has now grown into the Tag-A-Giant Foundation where their mission is, “to support scientific research, policy and conservation initiatives that promote a sustainable future for bluefin tuna.” The foundation has also helped to create electronic devices with the ability to track highly migratory marine life as well as genetic analysis of the species they are tracking. As of November of 2009, they were finishing their tagging program of Bluefin in Canada. You can read all about the program, join their mailing list, make a donation, or read and browse pictures of their adventures in attempting to catch and tag these amazing creatures on their website.


http://www.tagagiant.org/AboutTAG.shtml

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hope in Sight?


An international news program, Focus, recently gave an update on the bluefin tuna crisis. On a more positive note, France has decided to back a global ban on the sale of bluefin tuna in 18 months. Italy has also agreed to do so, while Monaco was the first to propose the idea. Spain, Italy and France were initially in opposition to the idea of a global trade ban. Focus reports, now Italy and France have changed their minds. This could mean good news for the bluefin tuna. The Focus program also reports that France alone makes up 20 percent of the allowable catch, a huge percentage coming from just one country. What the tuna really need is a break from fishing, so that the species can recover. A temporary ban could help do that. There is set to be an “international summit” in March that could make the global ban a reality.

The video also addresses the crisis fishermen face as they grapple with losing their livelihoods. Reporters briefly discuss the possibility of selling fishing quotas, government subsidies and using older fishing methods. The support of a global ban could be an important step in the right direction. It started with one country, Monaco, and gradually other countries are seeing the need for something to be done. The only problem, there isn’t a lot of time. If bluefin tuna will be wiped out by 2012, there is reason to act now.

http://www.france24.com/en/20100204-2010-france-fishing-red-tuna-ban

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/avoid-eating-bluefin-tuna.html

Link to image:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/08/photogalleries/bluefin-tuna/photo4.html

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food Network Promoting Consumption of Bluefin Tuna

Foodnetwork.com, the Food Network's website, which includes recipes from TV chefs as well as individual users, currently has on their website 8 different recipes which call for Bluefin tuna specifically.

Three of the recipes are from Emeril Lagasse, including "Crispy Wasabi Potato Crusted Tuna," "Black Pepper Crusted Tuna Loin," and "Seared Tuna Steak Burger on Cilantro and Onion Roll" from an episode titled, "Funky Burgers." Another recipe for "Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio" is posted courtesy of the Katana Restaurant in West Hollywood.

Food Network also offers a Tuna Guide, which describes Bluefin tuna as "moister and fattier" than Yellowfin tuna, which are also endangered but not as critically as the Bluefin tuna. The guide has no disclaimer informing the reader these are endangered species.

First Robert Deniro's restaurant and now this? Celebrities and corporations have a responsibility as role models and influencers of opinion to act consciously. They need to have pressure put on them the same way that non eco-friendly restaurants and businesses do.

Help us let them know this is not acceptable!

Search for "bluefin tuna" at Foodnetwork.com, then in just a few minutes you can create an account to post comments after these recipes.

Or write to the Food Network at www.foodnetwork.com/contact-us/package/index.html

By Jasmine Winchell

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Potential Bans on Atlantic Bluefin Trade


In March of this year a meeting will be held by CITES to discuss a proposal to list Atlantic bluefin in Appendix 1 of the convention. If this were to pass, it would create a ban on the export of the fish, allowing it only for domestic consumption within countries of the European Union. The country most affected by this ban would be Japan as they currently "buy nearly 80 per cent of the annual Atlantic bluefin catch". This is an obvious concern for the Japanese as bluefin tuna is economically and culturally significant to them. They are hoping that the meeting outcome will classify Atlantic bluefin in Appendix II instead which would tighten the regulations on trade without banning it completely. However, scientists are concerned about simply tightening the regulations because the previous set quotas on fishing have been ignored in the past. They believe a complete ban may be the only way to save the endangered population and to bring about consumer awareness, "If (Atlantic) bluefin tuna becomes an endangered species, that's big news. That will wake a lot of people up."

To access the article go to http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Environment/2010/01/15/12481331-ap.html


-Elaina Barclift

Monday, February 8, 2010

Eating Fish Healthy or Deadly?

by L Fashing
We have heard that eating fish several times a week is healthy for us, but could it also be deadly?

Fish may contain dangerously high levels of mercury that is "not healthy" for us. Tuna is the major source of mercury in our American diet and Bluefin Tuna is usually the fish of choice. Sushi tuna and tuna steaks contain higher levels of mercury than others. The FDA’s recommendation of mercury concentration is 0.38 ppm; however, some sushi tuna has been tested with an average value of 0.86 ppm.

Deadly? It is for Bluefin Tuna. With overfishing Bluefin Tuna could disappear forever.

Check out the Mercury you may be consuming!
Click on this link. http://www.gotmercury.org/

Help Save a Bluefin -- choose alternative substitutes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spaniards to their part in the conservation of tuna

Bluefin tuna (BFT) has experienced the damaging effects of heavy demand in seafood dishes. The Mediterranean Sea has been a major point of residence for these creatures. Fishing is a very profitable business in surrounding countries of the sea. In the early 90’s the country of Spain saw itself heavily involved in the fishing of BFT and the practice of “fattening”. This is a simple process which involves capturing the fish for six months, fattening them up and then shipping them to Japan for consumption.

Since the year 2000 the International Council for Conservation of the Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) has involved themselves in research aiming to domesticate the BFT. As we have seen in previous articles, http://ecomerge.blogspot.com/2010/01/efforts-to-save-bluefin-tuna-face.html, the domestication of such species comes with nothing but hardship. Nonetheless the Spanish seem committed to this cause. Since 2000 they have outlined a schedule for their program and goals:

2000-2001 improve the technique of slaughtering of the BFT, finding a less brutal way of slaughtering the tuna…


2001-2002 Initiate the domestication of BFT, international symposium aimed towards domestication and study of the BFT.


2002-2004 development of automated quality control of BFT meat. “The main target of this project consisted of developing an automated system of visual inspection that allows the determination of the meat quality of the BFT. The ultimate aim was to establish quality indicators and classifiers accompanying tuna meat from the capture and that way making it possible to track this product in
the main tuna meat export markets.”

2003-2006 Domestication of BFT, feasibility study on its reproduction in captivity. Funded with 1.5 M Euros. The project was able to demonstrate the BFT was able to mature and spawn in captivity successfully.


2006-2007 more advances in domestication of BFT, focused on the juvenile of the species and how to better handle them.


2008-2010 Proposal to implement already acquired knowledge to perform self-sustained aquaculture. Funded with 3 million Euros.



To learn more on the Spanish institute of oceanography go to:


http://www.ieo.es/inicial.htm (spanish)

http://www.ieo.es/version_eng/indexingles.htm (english)



to learn about ICCAT:


http://www.iccat.int/en/


-Gonzalo Romero

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wal-Mart Takes Lead On Supporting Sustainable Fisheries

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), allows consumers to identify sustainably-caught fish. Fisheries voluntarily pay MSC to inspect their companies and, if they should pass muster, they are awarded the MSC seal of approval. The MSC label is found both at supermarkets and restaurants. The group also has a directory that lists all MSC-certified shops and eateries throughout the world. MSC has enjoyed a yearly 50 percent increase in fishing companies that display its label, and approximately 20 percent of the world’s wild catch are MSC-approved fish. In 2007-2008, products with the MSC label doubled. Supermarkets are cooperating, and Wal-Mart and its outlet ASDA have also gotten into the game.

Wal-Mart, which presently sells about 20 million lbs of fresh fish yearly, is targeting 2011 as the year it will offer only fish that are sustainable-certified fresh and frozen fish. For more information, read the full article here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Liar liar pants on fire…

“Robert De Niro's restaurant chain sells endangered tuna”!!!! And the worst part is that they called the Bluefin something else so that their customers wouldn’t know.

Charles Clover (Click here for original article), a writer for the Telegraph located in London, notes that an undercover operation has found that De Niro is selling an endangered species on his London restaurant menu. “A Michelin-starred restaurant chain part-owned by the actor Robert De Niro is serving endangered bluefin tuna at its London outlets without telling customers, DNA tests have shown.” Can you believe it! “If you were served up something labeled as 'steak' in a restaurant, and only found out later that you had eaten tiger or rhinoceros meat, you would be outraged.” (Click here for original article)

Nobu, the restaurant in question, responded by adding a disclaimer to their menu:

“Based on certain research models and theories of wildlife reproduction, a group of research biologists lists this fish as endangered. Enjoy with a refreshing sak√© .”

I would have expected a much larger response from the public for De Niro’s menu choices. Especially considering that they serve some of the greenest elites in Hollywood, Madonna and Leonardo DiCapprio for example.

The Bluefin seems to be no less endangered than the dolphin, so why the difference.

I believe this is caused by “cute eye,” meaning if the animal doesn’t have cute eyes then it is okay to eat them. It is easy to care about the cute dolphins or the plush adorable looking polar bears, but it is not as easy to care about a scaly slimy fish.

It is too bad that these types of investigations are not gaining momentum among reputable animal rights/conservationist groups. “Findings of the investigation will be highlighted in a feature-length documentary film entitled The End of the Line, to be released next year.”

-Jennifer Jorguson

Images: Courtesy of Green Daily: http://www.greendaily.com/tag/endangered/page/2/

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are You Eating an Endangered Species?

If offered rhino or tiger meat would you accept it? This is a valid question when considering that most people don’t think twice about consuming a piece of tuna. However, they would immediately decline a piece of African game meat, knowing it is from an endangered species. With the depleting amounts of blue fin tuna in our oceans, Greenpeace has created a new campaign relating the consumption of blue fin tuna to eating endangered species.

The possibility of complete extinction is inevitable if something isn’t done to conserve the population before it is too late. If we ignore the warning signs and allow the destruction to happen, undeniably another creature will follow the same devastating demise, thus creating an endless domino effect. No species right for life should be devalued due to our world’s ignorance or greed.
Tanya E.
Picture Courtesy of Osocio.org

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership


Sustainable fisheries Partnership (SFP) is an organization that formed with the mission "to maintain healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystems, enhance fishing and fish-farming livelihoods and secure food supplies." They work with current seafood producers and buyers to help educate them on the urgent need to improve sustainable practices. They assist companies in progressing their facilities and practices with the idea that it will in turn help to secure the longevity of their business and the ocean's ecosystem. In addition to working directly with fisheries and buyers, they evaluate current fisheries and post their findings to help buyers choose fisheries that are working towards sustainable practices. These are the key factors by which they assess fisheries:

• Is the management strategy precautionary?
• Do managers follow scientific advice?
• Do fishers comply with the managers ľ decisions?
• The status of the spawning stock biomass
• The mortality rate of the current fishery
• Known unacceptable impacts – for instance through by-catch – on PET species

To check out their website go to http://www.sustainablefish.org/main/home

-Elaina Barclift





Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Celebrities in the UK Pose Naked to Save Bluefin Tuna


As celebrity hot spots all across the world continue to serve this now rare and expensive fish, some celebrities from the UK are taking a very revealing stand to support the ban of fishing for the bluefin tuna.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/5478214/Celebrities-pose-naked-to-save-bluefin-tuna.html