Bluefin blues

May 26, 2008

Last night I ordered sushi and sashimi from Mi-Ne, the best of our many local Japanese restaurants. I purposely avoided ordering bluefin tuna (which is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s do not eat list) but I couldn’t resist a double order of big eye tuna sashimi. I just crossed my fingers and hoped it was not caught with a longline.

While we were eating our dinner, Martin and Oliver and I discussed how hard it is to be a conscientious sushi consumer who avoids fish that are on the Watch and Avoid lists. As both an active member of the Endangered Fish Alliance and a very concerned earthling who buys hundreds of pounds of seafood a day, Martin knows the fish on the endangered list by heart and follows the latest breaking news on the subject closely (in fact, he’s excited that we now have a Canadian program that is similar to Monterey’s).

When we finished eating, he went to the computer and pulled up this recent article, which reports encouraging news about the bluefin tuna crisis.

In précis, the article talks about Kindai, a farmed version of bluefin, developed at Kinki University’s aquaculture program in Japan. Although you can’t give the buyers of this tuna points for shopping locally, you certainly can thank them for finding an alternative to depleting the ocean stock of bluefin tuna.

Next time I see bluefin tuna on a restaurant menu, I’m going to ask if it is Kindai. I know it isn’t likely that it will be, but at least I’ll be letting restaurateurs know what I want before I order something else.

I know I told you to avoid Chinese food restaurants that serve shark fin soup two weeks ago and that I shook my finger about tetra packs last week. I might seem pushy but I feel really strongly that we all need to take responsibility for changing habits that are negatively affecting the earth and the oceans. Do you agree? If not, let me know.