It was when a third of the cinema audience sprang to its feet shouting at us, and my wife, fearing violence, slipped out of the side door, that I began wondering if we had taken on more than we could handle. The screening last month of The End of the Line in Malta, the centre of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna industry, was the closest I have yet come to a riot since I first pointed out that overfishing is killing our oceans.
2010 has been designated the international year of biodiversity, and international attention on Japanese policies toward such endangered species comes at a time when the government is stepping up domestic efforts to prepare for COP10.
History repeats itself: the path to extinction is still paved with greed and waste. By: Jeremy Hance
The story of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is a long and mostly irrational one—that is if one looks at the Atlantic bluefin from a scientific, ecologic, moral, or common-sense perspective.
I ate my last bite of bluefin tuna the other night. It came at SHO Shaun Hergatt, a luxurious restaurant in the Wall Street area known for its eponymous chef’s penchant for using the best ingredients from around the world. The bluefin was no exception. Served on a pristine plate with fennel gelée, young ginger and artisanal soy, this was pure o-toro (bluefin belly), the pinnacle of fishly flesh, a barely dressed bombshell that exploded on my palate with incomparable taste and texture. It was awesome. But I have to stop eating it. And so do you.
I told Sue Lieberman yesterday that I was not sure if Charles Clover’s Pearl Harbour analogy in The Sunday Times to describe the bullying by Japan of this month’s CITES conference would hit the right chord in Tokyo. She said, “probably not, but it certainly felt that way”.
Japan’s aggressive lobbying operation in the days before the vote will be familiar to veterans of International Whaling Committee meetings, where poor island nations vote with Japan in return for investment in their fishing industries.
The upshot is, more than ever it’s up to us to do what our governments have failed to do. We need to make the continued trade in endangered species like bluefin politically, socially, and morally unacceptable… and we need to remove the market that makes it so lucrative. Because our collective governments don’t seem up to the job.
The one thing that may not surprise you is that scalloped hammerhead fins are among the most prized for the Chinese delicacy known as shark fin soup. “Finning” remains one of the most disgusting fishing activities. Sharks are caught, their fins are chopped off and they are dumped back alive into the ocean to suffer horrible deaths.