Welcome back! Wow, it’s already the eighth blog post.

Time sure does fly. Today we will be exploring another fish and from the title of this post, I am pretty sure you can guess what fish it is.

A typical sashimi platter. source

In Japanese cuisine, tuna is considered one of the basic cornerstones of a sushi platter (source). Masaki Saito, a chef from a newly Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in New York City, revealed in an interview the most common types of tuna used in Japanese cuisine. They include the Atlantic Bluefin tuna, Southern Bluefin tuna, Bigeye tuna, Albacore tuna and Yellowfin tuna (source).

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species, the Southern Bluefin, Thunnus maccoyii, is considered critically endangered (CR) under criterion A, which states that its population is decreasing. The Atlantic Bluefin, Thunnus thynnus, is also considered endangered (EN) under the same criteria as the Southern Bluefin (source).

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna status on IUCN Red List.

Why are these tunas in such an unfortunate situation?

Tuna, especially the Bluefin tuna, play an integral role in the Japanese diet. They are highly sought after as their taste and texture are considered superior compared to other species of tuna when eaten raw. Despite being expensive, they are considered a necessity during important events such as New Year’s celebration in the Japanese culture. They are also a popular target for sport fishermen.

In 2009, the global spawning fish stock of Bluefin tuna fell to a miserable 5% of its 1940s level. Tuna caught in the Mediterranean were way smaller, dropping from 275 pounds to about 143 pounds (mind you, that was 10 years ago.. Till today, little improvement has been seen in these numbers sobs). Experts reported that almost half of the Bluefin tuna haul per year is due to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing (source).

Kind of unrelated but I was so amazed at how huge Bluefin Tunas can grow. This tuna is 16 years old according to the source.

Many people agree that these tuna must be protected. However, up till now, many attempts on protecting them have not succeeded as international efforts on trade restrictions and bans have been ignored by countries and the black market trade for Bluefin tuna continues to thrive and flourish (source).

There are so many things that could go wrong if the Bluefin tuna goes extinct. Bluefin tuna is considered a keystone species as they are apex predators which play important roles in controlling the population of smaller fish. Their extinction can destabilize ecological balance in the marine environment.

Here is a video that I thought was very concise and informative.

Looking at the bigger picture, the footprints (or should I say stains?) that humanity is leaving on this earth are getting bigger and uglier. Ultimately, we can’t be healthy in an unhealthy environment.

There is no planet B.