03 May 2011

Bluefin Blues

Northern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Thynnus), Critically Endangered

I'm in Japan for my brother's wedding, and I almost cried. Not because of the wedding. Because of the Bluefin Tuna.

The Bluefin Tuna, known in Japan as Hone Maguro, is prized as a delicious morsel of sushi and is extremely popular. I went down to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the largest wholesale seafood market in the world, two days ago, hoping to get a glimpse of the auction where the Tuna are sold. The Tuna auction (and the entire wholesale portion of the market) was closed to tourists, so my family and I snuck in. Walking past aisle upon aisle of Shellfish, Molluscs, and hundreds of Fish species, I was appalled to see a sign for a booth selling Whale. My mother reminded me that fishing was in my heritage (I'm half Japanese), and I felt ashamed.
Though I only managed to get a few glimpses and blurry photographs of the rows of frozen Tuna bodies as the guards were escorting us out, I was sad and angry that we are still killing and eating a species that is so close to extinction.

The next day, I went to a sushi restaurant with my aunts, grandparents, uncles, brothers, nieces, parents, and sister-in-law. Several of them selected slender cuts of Bluefin as they scrolled by on the moving conveyor belt. They hid their eyes from me in joking half embarrassment as they downed the delicious morsels. That's when I almost cried.

Experts estimate that sometime in 2012 (2012!!!) the Bluefin Tuna will pass the point of no return on the road to extinction, unless something changes.

If you want to help make the change and stop the extinction, support these guys. They're going to make a direct last ditch direct effort to stop illegal fishing, since much of the Tuna sold on the market is caught illegally. They also made the animation at the start of this post and are working on several other campaigns to raise awareness about our impact on the Bluefin Tuna.

For a broader scale impact, support WWF, who are working from a more political angle to stop the unsustainable fisheries practices.

Also, please, stop eating Bluefin Tuna. I don't want to cry.