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Thursday, June 1, 2017

SHOULD WE STOP CONSUMING BLUEFIN TUNA?

The past week has been one of my best ever.  Nothing spectacular, but just a continuing series of enjoyable things, beginning with


Tomorrow I'll report on the most amazing chicken I've ever seen, so today I'll end this great week with another animal, the Bluefin Tuna.



Dangerous animals:

  1. Cows kill 20 people per year just in the United States.
  2. Dogs kill around 30 people per year in the US.
  3. Ants kill up to 50 people each year in Africa.
  4. Hippos kill around 2,900 people in Africa.
  5. Mosquitoes kill up to 820,000 people per year (800,000 from Malaria and a further 20,000 from Dengue) around the world.
Worse for me.  I have a mosquito in my apartment and it bites me on occasion.  I have had opportunities, but failed at least three times to kill it.  The female of the specie can live for two months.

So on to the Bluefin Tuna:

The Pacific bluefin tuna has also declined by 96%.  Whoops, the latest data now show 97.4%.  In the Mediterranean, their version a decade ago was said to have almost been fished out.

Who is to blame?  Well, Japan:


They consume 80% of the catch.  The all-time high occurred in 2013 when a 489-pounder was sold for $1.76 million, or $3600/pound.  But this was for the New Year and tuna prices go haywire then.  But $3600/pound!!!

Progress has been slow, but Kinki University researchers in Japan have closed the growth cycle for the bluefin tuna, and small quantities are now being made available through Kindai.  However, don't expect any kind of volume for a long time to come.

I have attempted to ameliorate this situation through the Blue Revolution.  My Huffington Post article on The Ultimate Ocean Ranch provides some details.

In any case, should I serve as a role model by refusing to eat bluefin tuna?  Well, here is a photo-log of the seventh day of my heavenly adventures around Honolulu.

I caught the #4 bus to Pali Highway to transfer to #57, which, theoretically took you to Sea Life Park, where I could transfer to #23 so that I could have lunch somewhere in Hawaii Kai.  

The bus windows are so mottled that you can't take a satisfactory photo of the beautiful mountain ranges and beaches.  This the best could do of Rabbit Island.

I had bus schedules with me, and the trip to Sea Life Park took so long that I was expecting to miss the connection.  But The Bus did something so brilliant I was shocked.  The #57 bus at that stop just changed its number to #23 and continued on to Waikiki and the Ala Moana Shopping Center.  While sitting there I had second thoughts about finding a lunch restaurant in Hawaii Kai, so I continued on to Waikiki and, in consideration of the theme of this past week, almost went into Heavenly.

But I walked on to Yokocho:


It was earlier this year that I first went to Beniya and ordered a $65 unagi meal.  But it turns out that tourists don't want to pay so much for lunch, so prices have dropped.  I ordered a $12  onion/ginger/pork donburi (means over rice), which came with hasu (lotus), tofu, salad and miso soup:


Unfortunately, I also had a sparkling sake, which added $15 to bill.  Only 10 ounces with 4% alcohol.  Save for the drink, the meal was good, and, so far, no bluefin tuna sashimi.

I had to transfer to my #4 bus in town, so I walked over to Oahu Market.


In the makai-Ewa corner is a small fish market (Hori) that sells reasonably priced bluefin tuna.  So I bought a pound of chu-toro (fatty tuna) for $20.  They will cut the fish into sashimi pieces and pack everything in ice.  I told them I'd do my own slicing and also went by Zippy's to get a scoop of potato salad:


So far, I'm on reasonable moral grounds for this purchase occurred before I composed the first part of this posting.  I picked up stew from 15 Craigside and had a wonderful dinner on my lanai:


The next morning I had a great breakfast of fried fish, sashimi with home-made tsukemono (pickled vegetables), eggs and rice:


At my knee a sunburst in bloom:


My lanai herb garden of Hawaiian chili peppers, mints and basil:


You can't get a sense of how large these leaves are, so two more photos of the basil (4 inches) and mojito mint (tip to tip at 6 inches):


Okay, enough of plants.  About the morality of consuming a fish that is declining, attempts have made to manage tuna stocks, but enforcement is weak.  As Japan mostly flaunts international whaling laws, the reality is that bluefin tuna catches are driven by demand.  They only pick off 333 Minke whales, with the ocean population numbering around a million.

The principle is clear.  As in drugs, the source of the problem is linked to the people purchasing the product, and Japan consumes about a million bluefin tuna annually.

I must admit that as inhumane as the process might be to geese for foie gras, I still consume this delicacy.  For the record, the California law making foie gras illegal was overturned two years ago.  My recommendation is that the industry find a way to feed them more traditionally.  But, after all, we do farm and kill poultry of all types, so what is the greater evil:  the feeding or the assassination?  Both, I guess, but we do eat other living things, like vegetables.

As bluefin tuna remains legal for consumption, the limiting factor now is the increasing market price.  I'll continue to seek funding for the Ultimate Ocean Ranch and the Blue Revolution, but will I stop eating tuna?  Keep tuned to this blog site.

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