Who Does and Doesn’t Get It About Bluefin Tuna

March 15th, 2010 | 4 Comments
Bluefin Tuna

In a few days the 175 countries meeting at the CITES conference in Qatar will vote on a proposal to ban international trade in bluefin tuna. The following quotes are from an article on terra.wire: http://bit.ly/aXNBbC. The responses are mine.

bluefin tuna chunks for sale in Tokyo

Doesn’t Get It:

“I can’t imagine sushi without tuna,” said Ayaka Mimura, a 21-year-old Tokyo university student, as she was buying seafood in Tsukiji. “Of course, I oppose overfishing. But a sudden, total ban sounds unfavourable to me. We just eat fish the way others eat beef.”

YES and that’s the problem, because you don’t raise them like others raise cows. Sudden? Actually, this is a response to 40 years of mismanagement and 50 years of overfishing. Without tuna? Try the Pacific bluefin, or the yellowfin tuna or the bigeye tuna. For that matter, try knowing what you’re talking about.

Gets it:

“Overfishing has never ended under the current quotas,” said Wakao Hanaoka, a Greenpeace researcher. “It is necessary to protect the fish under the convention. I hope Japan will take responsible action.”

tuna auction

Doesn’t Get It:

Japan will take irresponsible action. Vice fisheries minister Masahiko Yamada has already hinted Japan will opt out of a ban by taking a so-called “reservation,” as it has done on whale species in the past.

The most Westernized country in Asia is afraid their culture will be threatened if they stop killing whales and cooperate with the rest of the world?

Doesn’t Get It:

Hisashi Endo, a Fisheries Agency official, said: “We are not optimistic about the meeting. We are concerned the result could set a new global trend and spread to the Pacific and other oceans.”

Spread? Like they’ve helped spread overfishing and depletion? Perish the thought.

Doesn’t Get It:

Yuichiro Harada, a Tokyo-based fisheries lobbyist supports “responsible” bluefin tuna fishing, and said: “It’s quite unfair to treat tuna the same way as lions and tigers and elephants. Unlike those animals, tuna can bear hundreds of millions of eggs and is internationally recognized as a commercial food.”

And yet, like lions and tigers and elephants, Atlantic bluefin tuna numbers are devastated, down about 80 to 90 percent from pre commercial-industrial fishing levels of the 1950s.

Doesn’t Get It:

Mitsunobu Iida, a tuna wholesaler and sushi restaurant owner, said, “We can’t ask our customers to accept a price hike easily. If we raised the price, people would stop buying it. I’m afraid we are going to have a hard time.”

These are people who pay up to $175,000 for one fish.

A hard time? I hope so.

4 Responses to “Who Does and Doesn’t Get It About Bluefin Tuna”

  1. Amy says:

    Great points. I’d also add that the millions of eggs produced by the tuna do not become millions of fish, so that’s misdirecting. If those eggs DID all become fish, there would not as likely be such a problem.

  2. carl safina says:

    Dead fish lay no eggs. And just because an oak tree makes millions of acorns, that doesn’t mean you can’t clear-cut the forest.

    Under natural conditions without fishing pressure, the chances of a tuna egg becoming a breeding tuna are less than one in a million. Only the lottery-winning, perfect superfish make it to adulthood and drive their warm-bloodied high-speed bodies through the ocean.

    And those are the ones fishermen export to Japan.

  3. Ken says:

    The UN doesn’t get it, because they already declined bluefin’s addition to the CITES list as of 3/18. And even if they did get it, Japan and other countries could take a “reservation” and still trade with other countries who take a “reservation” as well. Policies are only as good as the enforcement behind them.

  4. worried says:

    i think they should stop overfishing the whole oceans the sharks for shark fin soup bluefin tuna whales when will it stop

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