Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bluefin tuna still need our help -- desperately

I think it's been quite awhile since I commented on the state of the magnificent bluefin tuna.

It's still very, very troubling.

From this National Geographic article:

Pacific Bluefin Tuna and the Spirit of Aloha 

A quote to set the stage:

"Right now, Pacific bluefin tuna are in big trouble. The population is at only 2.6 percent of its historic abundance, according to the latest stock assessment. In other words, fishing fleets from several nations have taken more than 97 percent of Pacific bluefin tuna out of the sea—and we’re not slowing down."

Like I said, very troubling. This article suggests that there be cooperation to bring the bluefin back.

Why is Japan so specifically mentioned? Here's why:

"... the vast majority (approximately 80 percent) are caught by Japanese fleets in their waters, and Japanese markets consume about 90 percent of the resulting bluefin products.

Japanese fishermen are not entirely to blame. Other countries, including Mexico, South Korea and the U.S., also catch Pacific bluefin, and have to be part of the solution. However, the scale of the catch in the Western Pacific, particularly by fisheries that target Pacific bluefin in and around their spawning grounds, has no reasonable scientific justification."

So, simply put, Japan is eating most of the bluefin tuna.

So what does he suggest? This:

"We chefs must take Pacific bluefin off our menus now, and give these powerful fish a chance to rebound.

Besides, there are delicious alternatives that are also sustainable. I encourage my customers to be adventurous and expand their seafood palates with dishes like mackerel scad (opelu) and monchong (kuro aji modoki). Hawaiians can still enjoy ahi [tuna] through more sustainable tuna choices like skipjack, albacore and yellowfin."

Great idea. But what about NOW?

"Japan, the U.S. and other Pacific nations will come together in late August in Fukuoka, Japan, for a critical international negotiation over the future of Pacific bluefin tuna. It is time to make science-based commitments to recover this species, including serious harvest reductions and the closure of fishing in their spawning grounds."

Exactly! There is no more time to wait. Do it now. For the fish, and for the kids.

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