As the Atlantic bluefin tuna season opens, environmental groups are warning that due to overfishing there's only about 3 years left for the large fish. In an effort to shift public opinion around eating bluefin, Greenpeace is characterizing eating the endangered fish like eating a rhino or tiger:Greenpeace Oceans campaign director John Hocevar pointedly says, "Don't sell it. Don't buy it. Don't eat it. Critically endangered species are not food." The problem is of course that plenty of people do see bluefin as quite tasty food. And one with a serious carbon footprint.
Once caught, the fish are packed into refrigerated coffins and flown to auction in Tokyo, where they are bought for up to $100,000 per tuna (bluefin are quite large...). From there, if not consumed locally, they are flown again around the world for sale in the United States, Europe or China.
Current Quota Levels Should be Cut by Two-Thirds
The International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna recommends that the tuna catch be restricted to 7500 tons to keep the current population stable. However, last fall, under European Union pressure the quota was kept at 22,500 tons. Which doesn't take into account illegal fishing, which in 2007 brought the total catch to 61,100 tons.
What to know what seafood is safe to eat?: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program
More: Greenpeace Oceans
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Will Be Gone in 3 Years at Current Fishing Rates
New Bluefin Tuna Quota Levels Are a "Mockery of Science"
Overfishing Update: Endangered Atlantic Bluefin on Menu at Nobu in London