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The Trouble with Bluefin
Marine biologist Milton Love on why ordering the fashionable fish should go out of style, plus one solution to overfishing
You people are eating too many bluefin tuna. Yes, I mean you, with your leg of Ibérico ham ordered from gilttaste.com and you, with your Baratza espresso grinder that looks like it’s out of a caffeine-generated anime. You appear not to know that all three species of bluefin are overfished. The ones in the Atlantic and Mediterranean—most beloved of sushi nibblers—are also the most endangered, just above the “you are now toast” level. Is farming the answer? Has your brain turned to chum? That simply means penning young fish taken from the ocean and feeding them lavishly on squid, sardines, and anchovies. How’s that helping Mother Nature? Lucky for you, the Japanese may have the answer: Kinki University in Japan has successfully birthed blue-fin tuna babies (sperm meets egg) in a lab, producing a promising alternative to the blue-fin problem. Now in its fifth year, the Kinai brand is a tad pricier than wild bluefin, but think of the eco-savings.
With reporting by Ann Herold
Love is a marine biologist at UC Santa Barbara and the author of Certainly More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast (Really Big Press, $30).