Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuna overfishing leads to deer meat sushi?

Tuna overfishing is hitting Japan and other seafood lovers where it hurts. A tuna shortage has sushi chefs looking for substitutes...including deer meat.

That's right, among the substitutes being considered are deer meat and horse meat, reported to be pretty good, soft, easy to bite off, and with no smell. Hmm...I don't see raw deer and horse being a big seller in the US.

Last year blogfish brought you the story about Japan getting busted for overfishing bluefin tuna. In response, Japan was forced to reduce tuna catches and business leaders predicted a shortage. Now overfishing is also a problem for yellowfin and bigeye tuna, which are the best tuna that most of us ever see since bluefin fetches such high prices.

Japan isn't the only culprit, US officials are criticizing the European Union, but this is a convenient finger-pointing exercise that neglects our own homegrown brand of US overfishing. Overfishing is a problem nearly everywhere, it's not yet on the public agenda as a big problem.

What can we do? With top grade tuna in short supply, cutting back on your sushi habit probably won't help, since it's easy to sell your tuna to someone else for a high price. We need to see strong, concerted international action like the pressure put on Japan recently to stop breaking international agreements. And, we need some better science-based catch limits that will allow tuna to thrive and rebuild. Conservationists need to work with seafood buyers to unify regulatory and incentive-based approaches.

Note: Jennifer over at shifting baselines has more on this story.

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