Goodbye Bluefin, Nice To Know O Ya

A wonderful and interesting piece by Devra First on the front page of The Boston Globe today highlights the danger of overfishing blue fin tuna.


Quoted in the third paragraph of the piece is Tim Cushman, chef and co-owner of o ya, Boston’s most upscale Japanese-style restaurant and said, by Frank Bruni of The New York Times, to be the best new restaurant in the country (circa, 2008).  Chef Cushman says that he will continue to serve bluefin tuna because his customers “expect it.”  Now there’s leadership for you.

In contrast to Chef Cushman, look at what Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernadin, in NYC,  the country’s best fish and shellfish restaurant is doing.  On his menu, it’s written: “LE BERNARDIN WILL NOT SERVE CHILEAN SEA BASS, GROUPER, SHARK, SWORD, MARLIN, SAILFISH … WILD BLUE FIN TUNA…IN SUPPORT OF OCEANA, NRDC AND SEA WEB’S EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS TO SPEED THE RECOVERY OF THESE ENDANGERED SPECIES.”

Now was that so hard?

I mean, honestly:

“CITES, the U.N. group that oversees the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, notes that Atlantic bluefin populations have declined more than 80 percent since the 19th century, so establishing special protections is justified by science.”  (Japan, which consumes 80% of blue fin tuna, announced that it would reject and violate the U.N. ban.)

The European Parliament endorses a ban on fishing the tuna before they disappear.

Customers can help: Why patronize restaurants selling bluefin tuna?

Restaurants can feed us and satisfy our appetites while at the same time showing the same respect and love to the environment that provides the sources for what is on the plate.

Photo: A bluefin tuna eating

One thought on “Goodbye Bluefin, Nice To Know O Ya

  1. Scott, I agree. I thought Cushman got off easy in the story with that comment. If he were serving tiger on the menu, people would be boycotting his place. The problem with the ranched tuna mentioned in Devra’s piece is that it while the Kindai are raised from eggs, rather than harvested from the wild as juveniles, they are still carnivorous and put pressure on smaller fish. Their ratio of fish in: fish out is not sustainable. Plenty of farmed-raised fish are indeed good choices. Kindai just isn’t one of them.

    Charles Clover, author of End of the Line, which was made into an excellent documentary on the subject of overfishing, has a website calling chefs out on serving bluefin and other pressured species: . There’s a U.K. and U.S. version.

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