Skip to comments.Search for sushi draining Mediterranean's red tuna stocks(enviro calamity induced by sushi?)
Posted on 05/31/2006 1:08:50 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
Search for sushi draining Mediterranean's red tuna stocks
by Marie-Noelle Valles
Mon May 29, 6:16 PM ET
Too much demand for sushi from Japan may finish off stocks of red tuna running dangerously low in the Mediterranean owing to overfishing, say environmentalists from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
"Japan absorbs between 90 and 95 percent of catches of red tuna and the Mediterranean version is especially appreciated," explains Jose Luis Garcia, head of the WWF oceans section.
The price of a prize red tuna can top 50,000 euros (60,000 dollars) on the Japanese market.
"In opening new markets, exploitation (of stocks) has been pushed even further," Garcia said, alluding to the growing international taste for sushi.
Ecologists want to highlight the threat in the run-up to a meeting in Croatia of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
And they have made common cause with small-scale fishermen who see industrial-scale practices ravaging the stocks on which they base their livelihood.
The international commission is to reevaluate annual fishing quotes for the first time since 2002, which are currently fixed at 32,000 tonnes for the "western Atlantic" zone.
Prior to the November meeting ICCAT scientists are going to meet in Madrid from June 12 to 18 to draw up a list of recommendations.
Greenpeace and the WWF hope to make their own voices heard.
"In 2002, scientists recommended 22,000 tonnes, but ICCAT decided to give 10,000 tonnes more," says Garcia.
Even this generous quota has been exceeded, say environmentalists, who claim the overall catch in 2005 hit between 40,000 and 50,000 tonnes due to fishermen overraiding stocks.
"This time we want to see the quotas come down enormously in response to the crisis," says Garcia.
The environmentalists are not targetting the small-scale fishermen who use nets according to local custom, but industrial flotillas and their high-tech operations.
With boats guided by satellite and planes that circle above banks of tuna during the breeding season, they capture thousands at one go before taking them to tuna farms to be fattened.
The centres, which receive large-scale EU subsidies, are farms in name only as they do not practise any kind of aquaculture, red tuna being unable to reproduce in captivity.
In contrast, the traditional fishermen in the Bay of Cadiz of southwestern Spain practice an age-old system of netting migratory tuna.
"Almadraba" is a spectacular method dating back more than 3,000 years to Phoenician times. The fishermen set out from the beach to cast out nets that go down as far as 23 metres (yards).
When the tuna appear in sufficient number on their migration across the Strait of Gibraltar to reproduce in the Mediterranean, the fishermen draw up the nets and haul their enormous catch aboard.
Many of the Almadrabas fishermen have today disappeared from the Mediterranean, environmentalists note, lamenting the demise of a method which respects the sea and its fauna.
Those fishermen who do remain have joined forces with the ecologists after being made victims of overfishing.
In the Strait of Gibraltar and the local ports of Barbate, Zahara de los Atunes, Tarifa and Conila, the tuna season which opened in April is about to come to an end.
It has not not been a prosperous one.
By late May only 3,787 tuna had been caught, down from 8,390 in 2000 -- "a disaster," according to Marta Crespo, who manages the local fishing organisation.
Only the best-placed survive around Cadiz, where the tuna hug the coast to avoid the strong currents common to the middle of the strait.
At Barbate, freezer ships from Japan come to load up the merchandise directly. The choicest pieces, such as the exquisite flesh from the tuna's stomach, will be dispatched by plane from the tiny local airport, to be served up as a delicacy, only hours later and across the world.
By the way, I suspect that, even with this much tuna coming in, tuna sushi will be still d*mn expensive in Japan unless they find a way to mass-produce them using industrial robots.:)
Tuna are safe from being fished to extinction. Eventually the cost of tuna will become so expensive it will cause the Japanese stock market to crash, causing mass suicides by rich Japanese, thus depleting the demand for tuna. /sarc
Well, "Tuna Hell" is about to unfold in Japan.:)
Fishing stocks are crashing everywhere, simply because no one owns the resource. Crashing populations simply means a higher market price, that will essentially mean that fishing will continue until the cost of catching tuna (or whatever fish) exceeds the market price. Meanwhile, the Japanese are getting a great deal that doesn't include anyone's cost for maintaining the resource - viz., the world is subsidizing sushi consumption.
Countries need to get their acts together and start rolling out ITQs (individual transferable quotas), like they use in NZ and AK (for halibut). Otherwise we will just see resources wasted in a free for all to catch fish. This is up for debate in Congress now for US fisheeries generally.
Thanks to you, I will be able to get them a little cheaper. Thanks for counting yourself out from competition. Every bit helps.:)
Thou speakest wisely, o my friend.
If the Strait of Gibraltar closes again, which is likely to happen in the near geological future (though extremely distant on a human time scale) (and the Suez Canal closes), the Mediterranean would evaporate dry in about a thousand years.
They can save the stocks by employing the catch, bite, release method of sushi fishing.
Try turkey sushi instead, it's killer.
Here's the Tragedy of the Commons for all to see, where no one and everyone owns the resource. Eventually it's used, abused and used up. Our socialist federal forests (the commons) are one example of the resource being destroyed by our government's Marxist policy.
I'm not familiar with ITQ. Will check it out.
Stomach?! Obviously referring to toro or the fattier meat on the underside of the tuna covering the abdomen. Makes one wonder if the author knows anything about this topic and isn't just responding to enviro hysteria.
Japan * ping * (kono risuto ni hairitai ka detai wo shirasete kudasai : let me know if you want on or off this list)
Never tried turkey sushi, but I have had chicken sashimi. They sear the outside of a chicken breast, slice it up thinly and then serve it with a bowl of ponzu sauce to dip it in. Many restaurants specialize in it and I never heard of any cases of salmonella resulting from it.
Most Japanese that I asked said that this was because of the quality of the meat and the caution used while preparing it and I tend to believe them. In general the fresh food that is sold in Japan is of higher quality than what we buy in the states. But then it is far more expensive and the Japanese seem to have an obsession for buying things that are high quality.
You are totally right about government-owned public resources; bureaucratic and politcal management are recipes for incompetent management and sweet deals to favored industries ("rent-seeking").
Outside the US and the developed nations, the problems are usually much worse, because either technology leads to a truly unfettered race (as in fisheries) or public resources are being sold off cheap to line the pockets of wealthy elites.
I'm new, so I really know little yet about lists; can you tell me about yours?