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Sushi Lovers: Avoid the Extinction-heading Bluefin Tuna

Sushi Lovers: Avoid the Extinction-heading Bluefin Tuna

December 28, 2007 —

Bluefin tuna is the sushi lover’s sushi of choice—feeding a growing demand. Many sushi restaurants in the U.S. are called Bluefin. But the Atlantic-based fish is nearing extinction, a fact known for decades, but now is of great urgency. Despite international catch quotas set, bluefin tuna was over fished this year by 50 percent. The plight is now so severe that even chefs in restaurants and cooking writers are strongly advocating that consumers stop ordering bluefin sushi.

Over the past four years bluefin (which can sell for $170,000 each) have been over fished, causing a fracas between Americans and Europeans on who is responsible. Scientists are using new techniques to track the tunas, study behavior and perhaps stall the extinction. But the consumers who are driving the fishing are really the deciding factor.

While some chefs are pulling bluefin from their menus or creating alternatives, consumer advocates are recommending that tuna lovers give up bluefin products altogether. Even in Japan the yellowfin tuna is replacing the bluefin for sushi as the extinction is becoming more well known. Best practices: don't order bluefin sushi and check with your restaurant on the source of their tuna sushi to make sure it is not bluefin. Check with your fish provider to make sure you are not getting bluefin. Tuna fish in a can is usually yellowfin of skipjack. But if it is bluefin, don’t buy it.

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