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Is it ethical to eat Bluefin Tuna?

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On the Boston board there was discussion of whether Atlantic Bluefin should be eaten.

The Monterrey aquarium says no:

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

Personally I love to fish, and I love to eat bluefin tuna, though I've never caught one.

But I feel, like the cod fishery, that the bluefin fishery is on the verge of total collapse.

I just spent 20 min. wading through piles of ICAAT data which in the end is gobbledy gook.

Bottom line: as recently as the early 1990s is was not uncommon to catch Alantic Bluefin in excess of 1,200 pounds. Noone catches fish bigger than 400 pounds with any frequency these days. That has to be an indication of the health of the fishery.

I really feel it is no longer acceptable to catch or eat bluefin tuna anywhere in the world.

Heck, it's not just enethical, it is unsustainable. I personally don't want Bluefin Tuna to go the way of the atlantic cod fishery, or the west coast sardine/anchovy fishery.

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  1. Thanks so much for creating this thread! I tried to leave a reply on the New Japanese Fish Market discussion but was deleted.

    I agree with you and wish more people would ask themselves if the pleasure of eating blue fin (or any other endangered species) is really worth seeing that species become extinct. And why don't more markets and restaurants take the lead in educating their customers?

    I recommend "Four Fish: the Future of the Last Wild Food" by Paul Greenberg, he makes some interesting points about the shortcomings of fish farming.

    And then there's panga, which I havn't seen here but which is very popular in France because it's cheap, meaty and mild tasting: comes from farms in the ultra polluted water of the Mekong River, so farming is not always the solution.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cassis

      I agree there are no easy answers. It requires thoughtful decisions every step of the way.

      MANY of the farmed species are fed fishmeal which is made from ocean herring and other species. Those fisheries, particularly herring, are themselves in trouble. The herring catch near Boston has been severely cut back in recent years due to overfishing.

      I myself am a total omnivore, and love meat, fish, etc. But it does raise the question of how and whether we can feed large portions of animal protein to a growing and more affluent world population.

      Bottom line is that American style, 10 ounce portion of any animal protein is not particularly healthy for you to begin with. To quote Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

      Not only is that approach good for us, it's good for the planet, and probably the Bluefin tuna population as well.

    2. The bluefin tuna isn't on governmental endangered lists. If memory serves, the issue was brought up at an international conference and attempts were made to classify it has a class/type I species, which would put heavy restrictions on it, but that was shot down by something like a 2:1 no vote. If it's not endangered and isn't illegal, then I'd say it's ethical.

      20 Replies
      1. re: ediblover

        You really need to get up to speed on your information.

        In the US the Bluefin catch is HIGHLY regulated and restricted, but 200 miles off shore anyone can catch anything they want.

        The reason ICAAT didn't drastically cut quotas this year is because the mostly European countries and Japan voted it down despite STRONG scientific evidence that the stocks are in serious danger.

        The scientific community was essentially screaming that there is a problem, particularly in the Mediteranean (where a big fish these days is a 100 pounder, probably not even big enough to reproduce at all).

        The reason it is not on endangered list has nothing to do with number of fish in the wild, and everything to do with politics and vested interests.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          This is the official U.S. site: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/

          I put in "tuna" and I get a roach. So, I'm going to ask you to find the bluefin tuna on the official listing.

          As for "strong" scientific evidence, that's a running joke these days. Earlier this month there was "strong" scientific support for ESP. The evidence? A study, ran by a Cornell professor, had a 100 people pick 1 of 2 curtains (on a PC monitor), with 1 of them having the potential (predict the future!) of having a(n) picture/object appear. This "strong" evidence was that 53% of the time the people guessed the right one, when the picture was sex related.

          I seriously doubt that any (actual) strong evidence can be found on the bluefin tuna, because it's just impossible to study/track fish and all the variables in the oceans. You can speculate with numbers and political motivations, but those don't add up to being actual, reasonable evidence.

          1. re: ediblover

            Just adding a creature to the endangered list is a political issue.

            Just because some people do bad science, does not mean ALL science is shoddy. In fact quite the contrary.

            Bottom line, Bluefin that are landed here in New England are much smaller then they were 15 years ago.

            Here are numerous articles discussing the problem.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/wor...

            http://www.physorg.com/news188046239....

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8362168.stm

            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/wor...

            1. re: StriperGuy

              In other words, neither the International system or the U.S. government has it as an endangered species.

              1. re: ediblover

                Why is the U.S. endangered species classification your arbiter for whether it is ethical or not? I ask this in all seriousness.

                1. re: ediblover

                  i don't believe the U.S. Govt. has Rhino as an endangered species as well. Cut through the politics here - and there are a lot - even if it isn't classified as such, can we really not say the Bluefin is in trouble?

                2. re: StriperGuy

                  Of all your links not one single peer reviewed journal....cmon guy you can do better than the NY Times as a source...might as well post the National Enquirer up there also.

                3. re: ediblover

                  Ediblover: Your assertion that it is "impossible" to study and track fish in the ocean is just wrong, and suggests that you have no scientific training. Marine biologists must use statistical methods — obviously they cannot count and track individual fish — but statistical methods are nevertheless scientifically sound, not mere "speculation."

                  Here is a helpful summary of the status of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna as understood by marine biologists:

                  http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=236

                4. re: StriperGuy

                  I am skeptical of the "U.S. Tuna is fine" argument.. does a tuna caught in the 200 mile U.S. limit never exit those waters? Does it spawn in those waters? Tuna are wide ranging predators, travelling hundreds or thousands of miles.

                  Its a sad joke that most people with knowledge of the issue call ICCAT "International Commission to Catch All Tuna" - its easy in the U.N. to round up a few countries with an eye to economic self interest to vote for no restrictions.. read a book on economics - its called the Peril of the Commons..

                  But lets be blunt and lead by example.. almost every popular fish - Atlantic Cod, Sword, has gone through these cycles - abundance, then slow decline, with vested interests crying "Don't manage us.. we are just in a bit of a downturn".... eventually the fishery collapses, and people walk away skulking. If you eat bluefin, its like eating a panda.. and when its gone, look in the mirror and realize you played a part in it..

                  The Japanese are busy harpooning whales - do you really thing they are ready to cut back on their tuna consumption? They eat 90% of the world's catch today.. if there were one last tuna left, rich Tokyo businessmen would be lining up to filet it.

                  If truly our local stock is viable, leave it alone.. it might soon be the last viable stock left to repopulate the world..

                  1. re: grant.cook

                    I'm fairly sure that if I went through the list of all the protected creatures that there will always be some nations with a self-interest. But, the bluefin proposal was clobbered. Japan has their own agenda, sure, but what about the other dozens of nations that voted "no" or abstained? It's getting into the area of a non-existent conspiracy.

                    I had less than 10 servings of tuna last year, no sushi, so I doubt any were bluefin. I don't have an interest here. I'm not convinced that they should be a high priority.

                    1. re: ediblover

                      That's a nice tight philosophy... Pretty much every really bad thing that has occurred on this land of ours has happened because the middle class said "Its really not my problem.."

                      I'll give you a phrase you can use when the bluefin is extinct in a couple of decades -
                      "Never Again.."

                      And don't be naive - Japan almost got a few nations, with creative bribes, to overturn the whaling ban a few years back.

                      1. re: grant.cook

                        The middle class? I think the overwhelming majority of Americans have the "as long as it doesn't affect my lifestyle it's not a problem" mentality.

                    2. re: grant.cook

                      The misinformation on these boards is incredible. Did you know that the US harvests only 2% of the blue fin tuna worldwide? Look it up! So by not eating blue fin in the US you are doing nothing to stop the percieved "demise" of the giant bluefin. All you will be doing by not eating domestic blue fin is hurting the US fisherman who is the most highly regulated in the world. If the US is not allowd to catch its ICCAT quota it will be turned over to the purse seiners in the Med who are doing all the damage in the first place or worse...Japan.

                      1. re: LongLiner61

                        As a lifelong recreational fisherman and resident of a community that is home to a commercial fishing fleet, I emphasize with your position from an economic perspective. The issue at hand, however, is framed as an ethical discussion. From that point of view, your argument is fundamentally: one should not refrain from committing a wrong act because if one does refrain another actor may perform the wrong. That simply is not supported; it is roughly similar to the old Mom favorite, "If everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge . . . ."

                        1. re: MGZ

                          My post was meant to suggest the readers here to do their homework before depriving themselves of a food they enjoy. Nothing more,nothing less.

                          If you are eating domestically caught troll, harpoon or rod and reel BFT you are ethically sound in your decision. The Western Atlantic bluefin tuna(east coast of US and Canada) is not being overfished. The Eastern Bluefin Tuna(Europe and Med) is being purse seined to dangerously low numbers. So before a massive knee jerk reaction by a misinformed public hurts artisinal fisherman who abide by and are in favor of strictly regulating the Blue Fin fishery worldwide....INFORM yourselves.

                          1. re: LongLiner61

                            Good point Longliner-Thanks for the informed posts.

                            1. re: LongLiner61

                              Sorry, as longtime recreational fisherman myself, to pretend that there are NO issues in Bluefin catch in the USA Atlantic is laughable. Where are the 1500 pounders of my youth? Heck, where are the 1000 pounders?

                              To pretend that the Western Atlantic Bluefin is in totally fine shape is to deny the truth. When a BIG fish is 500 pounds, there are issues even in the local catch. I enjoy it myself from time to time, but have an appreciation for the fact that my grandchildren may never taste bluefin tuna.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                There are 1,000 pounders in PEI waters-this past season was phenomenal.

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&amp...

                                1. re: Sam Salmon

                                  A few 1000 pounders does not counter the fact that once they were VERY COMMON and now almost unheard of. Sure a few still exisit but MANY fewer.

                    3. re: ediblover

                      Ediblover, you really need to get your information from different sources when deciding the real status of any specie. Science and the endangered list are practically non-related, the same relation there is between politics and science.

                    4. IMO, the only way that this becomes an ethical dilemma is if there is a school of thought that holds that the bluefin is on its way to extinction no matter what, so therefore, you will no matter what you do be among the last to taste it.

                      Personally, I think it is unethical, but the piece of seared bluefin toro I had over a year ago is still the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. At the very least, it's a special occasion food, and it's price makes it so.

                      I think the best thing we can do is ask questions about the tuna we order - what kind it is, where it's sourced from, etc., and not just thoughtlessly order it all the time every time we go out for sushi.

                      I have to say that I read about young children developing a taste for raw tuna here and that kind of unexamined encouragement kind of bothers me.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Raids

                        not from Boston, but i own a seafood market in Dallas Texas and honestly, no you shouldn't eat bluefin. its not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when" we overfish it to extinction.

                        that said, if you can find upscale restaurants that serve farm raised blue fin, check it out. the future of the species is farm raising it. which is tough. tuna that is ready to eat can be 2 tons and travel 60mph for hours upon end...not exactly ideal for aquaculture!

                        1. re: JonFromTJs

                          Thank you.

                          Though, even the farm raised does not really resolve all of the problems.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            Do they even sell farm raised here in the U.S.?
                            You do not need a PHD or statistics to tell you that the bluefin stocks are in danger.
                            Even Wiki will tell you-International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has it listed and "critically endangered" the highest risk category.
                            As long as the Japanese demand for tuna is there, they will be over fished.
                            As usual, the world will wait until there are only a few hundred left to do something about it. And even then, it wont be easy enforcing the moratorium.

                            Id like to know what percentage of bluefin is consumed in the US, the EU, Japan, China etc......

                            Some articles suggest that 80% of the catch is consumed in Japan.

                      2. I would not eat it under any circumstances, but I am a lifelong fisherperson and am familiar with the state of the species as far as the U.S. Atlantic coast is concerned, conservation is essential.

                        It's entirely likely the bluefin that is being served in the sushi restaurant came from another fishery but until the U.S. stock gets healthy again I'd rather avoid it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: redfish62

                          +1

                        2. Another question is whether when you purchase bluefin you are really getting bluefin, there have been lots of cases in recent years of restaurants passing off a cheaper species as the more expensive species, and bluefin is very expensive. I certainly could not tell the difference between bluefin and yellowfin (especially since I have never eaten bluefin).

                          I used to fish for tuna every year off the Outer Banks (out of Oregon Inlet) and have eaten a lot of fresh tuna, when you come down to it, it's a bloody piece of fish, nobody here could distinguish one from the other.

                          So save yourself some money and do the ocean a favor and order the yellowfin instead.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: redfish62

                            When I was a kid EVERY sushi place in NYC (I now live in Boston) had Bluefin. It was cheap.

                            Good Yellowfin is pretty close. Most folks wouldn't know the difference.

                            Though real Toro is pretty noteworthy.

                            1. re: redfish62

                              TBH, I didn't order it. It was part of a rather pricey omakasse-style dinner I had. But it was hands down one of the best things I have ever eaten. You *can* tell the difference.

                              Having said that, I doubt I would order it. And it is not as though we should not be concerned with the yellowfin tuna stock either, right? Really we should try to order things *besides* tuna. There are other fish that make for great sushi!

                            2. The End of the Line is an interesting documentary on the sustainability of fish, particularly blue fin. Available streaming on Netflix.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: babette feasts

                                Hmmm, thanks, will check it out.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  If it was proved to be from Pacific stocks that weren't threatened then Yes I'll eat it but not from Atlantic or Mediterranean stocks.

                                  1. re: Sam Salmon

                                    I am less up to date on Pacific Bluefin, but Monterrey Aquarium says to avoid it as well:

                                    http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                    Do you have any data to the contrary?

                              2. I would definitely not eat bluefin tuna. Although I have eaten it in the past, and it was one of the best pieces of seared fish I have ever had when I was in Hawaii. However, it is obvious that it is all about the politics that is preventing it from being on the endangered list. You dont need to be a scientist to know but there are so many fish species that are dwindling because the mass majority of people fail to realize these things until its too late. Through the use of statistics and sampling data, you can estimate the approximate numbers of how many bluefin tuna are left in the wild with a relatively low error % and it is possible to find out how many tuna are left in the oceans and at what level it would be considered sustainable.

                                Not all scientific studies have the same merit. To the person who quoted about the article about how some scientist was testing for ESP, the article was most likely published in some unknown journal, that just started publishing papers and obviosuly didnt have a good editor to back up and do additional research on the subject.

                                Tuna populations in the wild has been widely studied and multiple papers and articles have been written about the subject. I HIGHLY doubt that so many ecologists can be wrong about this situation. As fishing technology increases exponentially, more and more tuna will not stand a fighting chance. This problem is compounded by the fact that the fish takes 8-12 years to reach sexual maturity and therefore doesnt have a chance to increase their population as more and more tuna are being fished. Bluefin tuna fishing as of right now is unsustainable and they should be protected. It is just unethical.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Roarasaur

                                  Actually, the article was published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology," which is a reputable journal and supported by the American Psychological Association.

                                  The data, methodology and significance were all valid. But, of course, the conclusion was laughable. It's almost a textbook example of the saying, "lies, damn lies, and statistics." That brings us back to the bluefin tuna. The conclusions being reached on its situation isn't even based on real data, but estimates, which can be fairly accurate, but there are so many variables (both known and unknown).

                                  When real data can be so misinterpreted, what are we all to make of estimated data that has a lot of unknowns that are presented by those with a clear agenda?

                                  1. re: ediblover

                                    Let's just be clear that the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" is not exactly a top tier journal.

                                    In fact, it is a HUGE stretch to suggest that the study of Personality and Social Psychology is hard science at all.

                                    To make the leap that a poorly written paper in a 3rd rate social science journal represents a condemnation of ALL scientific publications, is quite a stretch.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      The JPSP is published by the APA. The American Psychological Association is one of the largest and reputable professional organizations in the world.

                                      I'll leave it at that.

                                      1. re: ediblover

                                        Yes, but they are Psychologists, NOT scientists.

                                    2. re: ediblover

                                      Okay, so if data is ambiguous, shouldn't we be conservative - you can't say "we can't be sure" and combine that with "fish the hell out of it".

                                  2. It's all going to come down to Darwinism...

                                    People that don't care about sustainability will continue to eat the tuna
                                    The tuna will poison them with mercury
                                    People that refuse to eat the tuna will survive with their brain intact
                                    The tuna will survive too.
                                    Problem solved.

                                    LOL

                                    16 Replies
                                    1. re: sedimental

                                      How many of you have seen first hand how many fish are landed in Massachusetts, Maine, NY or NC? or seen from the air the schools of thousands of giants over Massachusetts. That's a rhetorical question. I'm going to guess none.

                                      This was one of the best years in 20 years for landings in Massachusetts. 800-1000 lbers
                                      regularly. On George's bank, 3 fish per day, turn around, off-load, head back out. 1000 lbers are less desirable because of yukka (sp?). Basically they're old fish and the fat is "burned" up. Old fish = less $ per lb. Fisherman are not getting rich here like the media would have you believe. The average summer boat price is $5/lb. The only people making $400k per fish are the Japanese who catch one fish during the right moon cycle and right festival . The bidding war over this fish is a publicity stunt for several wealthy sushi bar owners in Japan.

                                      So you've all been told by a for-profit organization not to eat bluefin tuna or listened to organizations hell bent on stopping oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico using Bluefin tuna as a pawn. That's great but know where your information is coming from and what their angle is.

                                      No one will deny there's a huge problem with Mediterranean tuna. Japan will import tuna no questions asked. Tunisia, Libya, Turkey and Morocco, have no interest in playing by ICCAT rules.

                                      The bluefin tuna you eat in the United States is coming from US fishermen who play by the ICCAT rules and are are working hand in hand with fishery managers to manage the bluefin population.

                                      A small sampling of spotter pilot pictures. These aren't even the biggest pictures of schools I've seen.

                                      http://www.oceanaerials.com/Tuna.html

                                      All I ask you is make your own informed decisions based on experience, not what a NGO or for profit organization bases their membership and fund-raising drives on. The real tragedy in the northeast is the "clear-cutting" of the herring population. The large factory ships take the food source, so the tuna move north to Canada where the bait population is protected. Canada filled their quota in 3 days.

                                      -Andrew, (third generation bluefin tuna fisherman, charter boat owner, regular poster on NE board)

                                      1. re: typhoonfish

                                        Actually, the bluefin tuna I had was purchased in Tokyo. Which makes it about the least environmentally friendly fish imaginable. But maybe it was still Atlantic bluefin, who knows?

                                        At any rate, Monterey Bay Aquarium does provide full reports on its assessments. And it says "In the majority of the Atlantic and Southern Ocean, bluefin tuna management faces a number of challenges including lack of a bycatch plan, lack of enforcement, catch quota exceedance and inability to maintain stock productivity."

                                        They conclude that it is because of this poor management, bycatch problems, and poor stock conditions that all bluefin is rated avoid (although the Pacific bluefin is apparently in less critical condition than the southern and Atlantic).

                                        That is interesting about the herring population - hopefully that is something we can think about managing here, also.

                                        Also, this particular website is referenced *all over the place* If you take issue with their methods or think there are misrepresentations, you should think about contacting them with your concerns because *a lot* of people rely on their guide.

                                        Having said that, has demand for bluefin tuna really decreased?

                                        1. re: typhoonfish

                                          Typhoonfish. You can not possibly tell me the Atlantic Bluefin population is as plentiful as it was even 10 years ago. A few thousand pound fish do not make a healthy fishery. Nor do one good year.

                                          Did YOU land multiple 1,000 pounders this summer? When is the last time you landed a 1,400 pounder which used to be relatively common?

                                          All my buddies who fish for Bluefin admit that over the last 15 years the fish are smaller, and MUCH less plentiful with the possible exception of a few good days this summer.

                                          200 miles out it is a total free for all, and those are the same fish you are catching on Georges Bank, but in international waters.

                                          Honestly, more or less the same argument you are making were made by the cod fishermen before it collapsed. "We just had a great year, sure the previous 10 were terrible, and the fish are small, but the fisher is fine, it has to be fine."

                                          At least we agree on the terrible situation in the herring fishery.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            I did not land multiple 1000 lbers because I don't have the range for George's Bank. What I did watch was hundreds of 800 -900 lbers delivered to the tuna buyer. So many that the price crashed overnight and fish were unsold at tsukiji, leading to a huge loss for the exporter.

                                            My other dockmate is one of the heads of the American Bluefin Association who also happens to own a spotter plane. The fish are there by the hundreds of thousands offshore and in Canada. We've decided to wipe out the forage in Cape Cod Bay, so the fish have moved offshore. If you were doing a stock assessment on inshore areas, of course the fish aren't going to be there. At the same token, my dock mate with a 22 ft center console had 17 giants in Cape Cod Bay this year of which 12 went to Tsukiji, all of Stellwagen. It was his best year ever.

                                            Same with striped bass. In the right places, this was the best striped bass year of all time. Other areas on the vineyard and South Cape had the worst. We personally caught more striped bass than any other previous year combined, yet we heard how bad it is all over.

                                            And no, 1,400 lbers were not common, ever. Not when my grandfather and father were handlining for $.10 a lb to cat food companies or when my father was chasing IGFA records with light tackle, ever.

                                            So I will agree with you the population is down in historical areas: Cape Cod Bay, Chatham, and Block Island/Mudhole. I won't agree that the population in the Western Atlantic is down overall: George's bank, Nova Scotia and Jeffrey's.

                                            The Med is a complete disaster.

                                            1. re: typhoonfish

                                              That is kinda funny, on the striper front, cause I did have a crappy year fishing the rocks in Cape Ann. In part that was cause I couldn't get decent herring for bait, just nasty stale frozen stuff. Fresh frozen is passable, but when it get's all dry... go figure.

                                              I'd like to see some real solid data, by a third party that does not have a dog in this fight, stating that Western Atlantic Bluefin are doing okay. Again, one good year of fishing does not make a healthy population.

                                              I tried reading some of the ICAAT and NOAA documents, and could not decipher them. (I read some rather involved stuff for my day job and that stuff was just gobbledy gook).

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                Call John Nagle in Boston for fresh line caught food grade mackerel

                                                Call Globe Fish for fresh herring.

                                                Both of which you can buy with cash.

                                                1. re: typhoonfish

                                                  Thanks. None of the guys up in Gloucester had much fresh bait this whole summer. It was all frozen.

                                              2. re: typhoonfish

                                                I've never gotten a straight answer on this - are the tuna you catch NEVER going to exit the 200 mile U.S. or Canadian limit? They spawn, grow, and come to maturity solely in North American waters?

                                                1. re: grant.cook

                                                  They absolutely will exit the 200 mile limit. What hasn't been proven is how much mixing happens between Eastern and Western Atlantic stocks.

                                                  Some fish have been tagged of Cape Cod and their pop up tags came up off Norway. Others are exclusive to East Coast.

                                                2. re: typhoonfish

                                                  Typhoon,

                                                  Excellent reply...Giants(like all apex fish) follow the food. If the herring are wiped out as was done with pair trawling in Cape Cod Bay the bluefins will move offshore. Simple common sense.

                                            2. re: sedimental

                                              HAHA! that would be great!
                                              but the problem is that there's not enough bluefin tuna left in the world to poison all those people: according to an article I read in Time, Atlantic bluefin could disappear from the wild as early as 2012!!
                                              http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...
                                              a more recent article in nyt: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/mag...

                                              1. re: kerosundae

                                                I think it's the mediterannean fish that may be gone by 2012, though the Atlantic catch is not too far behind.

                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                  More 900 lbers this summer . So thick you could walk on them.

                                                  http://vimeo.com/19447503

                                                  1. re: typhoonfish

                                                    Fabulous vid but very few of those fish were over 600# (jk)

                                                2. re: kerosundae

                                                  Is NY Times a peer reviewed journal? Like I keep saying do your own due dilligence.

                                                3. re: sedimental

                                                  sedimental: isn't that what's happening in the Faroe Islands?
                                                  the people are being poisoned by the mercury in the whales that they "herd" and kill as part of "local tradition."

                                                4. ****Noone catches fish bigger than 400 pounds with any frequency these days. That has to be an indication of the health of the fishery.****

                                                  Are you kidding me? Obviously you are misinformed. Head on down to the docks at Chatham or Gloucester during BFT season. Look at PEI...they catch their quota in 2 days and the fish are all 800+ pounds. Just because you do not know anyone catching fish larger than 400lbs doesnt mean they are not being caught on a daily basis by real fishermen. Professional fisherman are just that...we fish to supply fresh seafood to those not fortunate enough to supply it on their own. We are not weekend warriors. We listen to and abide to the "gobbly-gook" that ICCAT and our own NMFS SCIENTISTS put out not to mis and dis-information put out by people like yourself. Lets see should I follow science or misinformed opinion?

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: LongLiner61

                                                    For whatever reason replies show up in my email but not on this thread so I want to clarify a few things.

                                                    #1)I am a commercial fisherman but my target species is not BFT rather yellowfin, big eye and swordfish. If anything BFT being put on the endangered species list would increase the ex vessel price of my catch. I am not here to convince people to eat BFT. I want people to do their own due dilligence and look at the scientific data not the environmentalist alarmism that is being spread by Greenpeace and such.

                                                    #2) The guy who started this thread talks about the "1500lb tuna of his childhood" are no longer being brought into the docks. The fact is the world record fish was 1497 lbs...That was one fish back in the 70s. There has never been a larger fish brought in so the 1500lbers of his childhood were non existent.

                                                    #3) The guy who started this thread also claims there are no 1000lb fish brought into the dock when in FACT it is a regular occurence in Chatham, Gloucester and Montauk during the BFT season. A fish brought into the dock weighing 800-900lbs that has been dressed(gutted) at sea easily weighed 1000 or more.

                                                    #4)The guy who started this thread backs up his OPINION with articles from various publications that are not peer reviewed scientific journals but rather opinion based newspapers carrying the environmentalist rhetoric. After reading actual ICCAT data he summed up the data as "gobbly-gook".

                                                    #5) The scientific data shows that the western atlantic blufin tuna has been overfished until the 90s but is currently recovering and overfishing is not occurring. Large regulatory steps have been taken to ensure a recovery to sustainable levels.

                                                    If you enjoy BFT as I do and want to eat it guilt free make sure the tuna is caught domestically by hand gear. (troll, harpoon or rod and reel) BFT harvested in this manner are highly regulated, have no bycatch, are extremely selective and do no damage to the environment.

                                                    DO YOUR OWN DUE DILLIGENCE...CHOWHOUND IS NOT THE PLACE TO LEARN ETHICS

                                                    1. re: LongLiner61

                                                      It may not be a place to learn ethics, but it is a very good place for intelligent, passionate folks to "discuss" issues related to food in the fashion of the dialectic. In that light, I note that we appreciate your contributions to this thread, as well as those of the OP. At bottom, it is exchanges like the instant one that make the site both enjoyable and useful.

                                                      1. re: LongLiner61

                                                        How about providing data to substantiate your own claims? You blast the NY Times, considered "the Newspaper of record" for our country.

                                                        Point us to ANY data supporting your point of view.

                                                        Furthermore, you state the recreational record of 1497 pounds. You are being disingenuous to suggest that no commercial boat ever caught a larger fish, or rather even routinely caught fish in that size range, which in fact was the case when I first moved to New Enland in the 1980s. Now fish over 1,000 pounds are by far the exception in Chatham, Gloucester and everywhere. Back then they used to use bluefin for catfood and big fish were common. To suggest otherwise is just not honest.

                                                        Also I notice you are a sword fisherman. Are those fish as big as they were 20, 30, 40 years ago? Will you happily continue to pull smaller and smaller fish out of the water until they are all gone?

                                                        Do you poo poo what has happened to the Cod fishery on Georges Bank as well? Let us know when all you are catching is dogfish

                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                          Heres a good article for ya StriperGuy note the dates and the "newspaper of record".

                                                          http://www.fishnet-usa.com/over_a_cen...

                                                          1. re: LongLiner61

                                                            Interesting article with a VERY skewed perspective.

                                                            And in fact the Menhaden fishery is nearly gone. If they are talking about what we call pogies here in Boston, when I moved here in the 1980s I could routinely see blitzes of them IN the harbor, or in various harbors on Cape Cod. I haven't seen a pogie blitz in more then 20 years, so the start of that piece was off by about 100 years, but in the end still true.

                                                            The wild river herring has had the same problem. I no longer see the multitudes running up the Charles river cause they have all been turned into cat food or nutritional supplements.

                                                            Did you say the same thing about the cod fishery? Or the now completely extinct west coast sardine fishery, or the East Coast wild salmon fishery, or how about the nearly vanished east coast halibut fishery. Heck, the stripers were nearly killed off until the 36 inch limit and severe limits on commercial fishing were instituted.

                                                            Seriously show ME some data, not ranting pieces from a pro-industry web site to support your position. Anyone can cherry pick from 100 years of newspapers and find a few ill conceived pieces. Instead of showing me edited soundbites from 100 year old articles, where is the data to support your opinion?

                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                              WRT menhaden you are again using your personal observations(or lack there of) and coming to a scientific conclusion that is polar opposite of the scientific communities.

                                                              http://www.asmfc.org/

                                                              " Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, supports one of the most important and productive fisheries on the Atlantic coast. It is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to cut risks of heart disease and possibly other diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Menhaden is also used by fishermen as bait to catch popular commercial and sport fish. The species also plays in important role in marine ecosystems as both a forage fish to larger predators and a filter feeder. The 2010 stock assessment indicates that Atlantic menhaden are not overfished and overfishing is occurring." Just because YOU dont see the menhaden doesnt mean they are not there!

                                                              1. re: LongLiner61

                                                                Sorry, but you ask any COMMERCIAL fisherman about the Massachusetts Menhaden fishery and they will tell you it is 25% of what it was 20 years ago. There used to be commercial boats in Boston harbor and they don't even exist any more.

                                                                I was actually out on a tuna boat this summer and the captain himself expressed concern about the total depletion of the MA Menhaden fishery.

                                                                Too bad you don't even bother to read the very web sites you are linking to:

                                                                From the web site you linked to:

                                                                http://www.asmfc.org/

                                                                "2.1 Statement of the Problem
                                                                During the 2010 Atlantic menhaden benchmark stock assessment, the Peer Review Panel noted that menhaden population abundance had declined steadily and recruitment had been low since the last peak observed in the early 1980s."

                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                  I read the entire assessment and the assessments conclusion is that the menhaden stock is NOT being overfished. Scientist say that they are NOT overfished yet you claim they are on the verge of extinction. Who should we believe?

                                                          2. re: StriperGuy

                                                            YOU SAID....."Also I notice you are a sword fisherman. Are those fish as big as they were 20, 30, 40 years ago? Will you happily continue to pull smaller and smaller fish out of the water until they are all gone?"

                                                            I guess YOU dont see any large swords anymore either yet the data proves the stock is fully rebuilt and for the last several years the fish I have been catching are as large as Ive ever seen in 30 years of fishing.

                                                            http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/sp...

                                                            1. re: LongLiner61

                                                              Striperguy,

                                                              I posted this article to show you that the NY Times has a history of environmental alarmism. Nothing more and nothing less. They have been screaming the sky is falling wrt to our oceans for over 100 years. The NY Times is not to be mistaken for a peer reviewed scientific journal. Factual data can be found at NMFS, NOAA, ICCAT,etc.

                                                              http://www.fishnet-usa.com/over_a_cen...

                                                              1. re: LongLiner61

                                                                That's a relief.

                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                  Another fallacy along the lines of the bluefin tuna is the gulf of Maine cod stocks.

                                                                  NOAA in doing their cod assessment used a ship (Bigelow) that was too fast with too small of a net. They didn't catch any cod. Gee I wonder why.

                                                                  It's comical .

                                                                  1. re: typhoonfish

                                                                    Hey Typhoonfish, I've known you on the board for quite a while. Do you really feel that the Bluefin stock in New England is healthy?

                                                                    Cod as well? Really?

                                                                    How about the bait herring stock. I can't even get the fresh herring I used to use for fishing. All I see these days is frozen.

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      There isn't such a species. Bluefins range the world oceans and no group is confined to the Atlantic.
                                                                      Beyond that what is the goal to be achieved by not eating them, that the bluefin will exist as a species happily ever after?
                                                                      n
                                                                      Natural selection, and extinctions are the very substrate of evolution. Life is always in flux.

                                                        2. Yes. In my opinion, it is.

                                                          This is an article that I have my students read each year when we cover evolution. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek... It is called "Its Survival of the Weak and Scrawny" and addresses how hunting and fishing are impacting species.

                                                          I'm not saying that those activities are causing species to evolve but they certainly are crippling them. They won't get the chance to evolve.

                                                          1. Old thread pops up; someone must still be interested. As a biologist, I have no doubt that we are depleting many fish stocks including Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. However, there is another dimension to the ethics question that no one has mentioned. I am NOT an animal-rights type by any means. The animal-rights groups/people have their hearts in the right place but have absolutely no understanding of science and make ridiculous, extremist claims and decisions. However, the other day I saw a news item about some recreational fisherman who were proud of having caught a 900-lb tuna.

                                                            ""It dragged us around the ocean for three hours" he said. "We had to cut the anchor!" It took the strength of all of them -- rotating every 15 or 20 minutes -- to reel it in.

                                                            This animal was fighting for its life for three hours.

                                                            http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/08/us/...

                                                            And people freak out about the way we slaughter beef?

                                                            I am actually thinking I won't eat fish anymore, even though I love it.