To those of us with an interest in environmental affairs, the plight of the bluefin tuna is by now a familiar story. Driven by demand in Japan's seafood market, stocks of the predatory fish with the brilliant red flesh have depleted 85% over the last forty-odd years. Earlier this year, a bid to ban commercial fishing of bluefin tuna was denied at the annual United Nations meeting on endangered species.
Yesterday, the imperiled fish was featured on the cover of New York Times Magazine. In the accompanying article, adapted from “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food,” a forthcoming book by Paul Greenberg, the story of the bluefin's demise — and its potential recovery — is laid out in nice detail.
Greenberg discusses how Japanese sushi demand, ineffective fisheries management, and the political divide between developed and developing nations have coincided to bring the bluefin tuna to the brink of extinction. He also looks at sustainable, ecologically-sensitive fish farming, concluding that it may be the best bet to save the species.
It's an important piece, and we can only hope it helps raise mainstream awareness of the issue. Read the article here.
Photo: A juvenile bluefin tuna jumping from the water in the Mediterranean Sea. (A. Bassemayousse/WWF)