Slow Down On Tuna

tuna-1_custom-d47cd28103604517f199242df4377d3da1afe26b-s1400-c85

A new study finds that tuna harvests, including of some species considered “vulnerable,” have increased by an astonishing 1,000% in the last 60 years — a rate that some scientists warn is unsustainable. NiCK/Getty Images

Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this warning:

We’re Pulling Tuna Out Of The Ocean At Unprecedented — And Unsustainable — Rates

If you’re in the mood for a tuna poke bowl or an old-school tuna niçoise salad, here’s a tip: Don’t hit up the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. It has been nearly six years since chef Jonathon Sawyer became a “tuna evangelist” after attending a meeting of like-minded chefs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was there that he made the decision to forgo tuna — both in his personal life and on the menus at all four of his restaurants.

It wasn’t always easy. Turning down the chance to eat famed chef Eric Ripert’s mouthwatering thin-sliced tuna over a foie gras torchon took some Superman-like strength, but for Sawyer, the mission is an important one. He’s not trying to get people to give up tuna altogether. Rather, he’s trying to raise awareness of the sheer quantities that are coming across our collective plates and serve as a gentle warning that all that fish is coming from a limited resource.

It turns out that his effort is hitting a seafood sustainability bull’s-eye.

A new study, published in Fisheries Research, reveals that the sheer amount of tuna being taken from our seas, including some species considered “vulnerable,” has increased by an astonishing 1,000% in the last 60 years — a rate that some scientists are saying is unsustainable.

The study, which looked only at larger industrial catches, says we’re pulling nearly 6 million metric tons of tuna from the oceans each year. (The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s data — which include artisanal fisheries as well as industrial catches — estimate that the overall annual harvest is closer to 7.4 million metric tons of tuna.)

Of that, skipjack (which typically ends up as canned tuna) now accounts for nearly half of the world’s entire tuna catch, followed by yellowfin tuna, which comes in at just under a quarter of the global tuna haul. The study’s findings suggest that current public reporting efforts to accurately document the extent of the world’s tuna catch have been insufficient and could be affecting fisheries management decision-making.

Read the whole story here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s