One last bite of tuna…

seared-ahi-tuna

 


“Bluefin tuna is now on every single red list on every single wildlife-conservation organization’s seafood card. But in the time period from when non-profits began listing bluefin in their various ‘do not eat’ columns, global consumption of bluefin has only increased. U.S. demand has indeed declined, but the Japanese demand has increased to the point where there are no longer enough big wild tuna to fulfill the needs of the market…

Tsukiji-Tuna-Auction

Tsukiji tuna auction, Japan

To most people an animal is either food or wildlife. If a fish ends up in the market, humans will come to the obvious conclusion that it is food; they will then choose to eat it, even if they are warned that the fish is endangered or contaminated with mercury. In the absence of a larger moral argument and a more profound government action, the animal’s appearance as flesh in the market, unfortunately, argues more effectively than do any caveats against eating it…

Those who study fish or pursue fish or live among fisherman love fish dearly. Meanwhile, the rest of the world eats more and more of them every year without ever really bothering to learn what any of those fish look like, how they behave, or how many remain. I hold on to the hope that the dynamic might change. That fish might one day be understood as their own kind of perfection, meriting their own special kind of respect. Recently I asked a biologist who had spent his life studying tuna whether he thought that bluefin could ever be elevated to the status of a whale or a dolphin and given protection akin to that afforded the other great animals on earth.

‘What I always say,’ he told me, ‘is that in the early days of the founding of the United States, right there in the Constitution it said that a black man was once worth three-fifths of a white man. And look at us now. Never say never.'”

Four Fish