Huw Irranca-Davies, the British Fisheries Minister has joined a list of actors, celebrities and activists demanding the Japanese restaurant Nobu stop serving the endangered bluefin tuna on their menus.
The Minister remarked, “There is regulated trade in this species but, while I have a responsibility as a minister in trying to protect this species for years to come, similarly suppliers and restaurateurs have their individual responsibility as well.”
Global demand for bluefin tuna has put the fish in a position where it is in danger of being made extinct. In the Mediterranean, it could be wiped out in 2-3 years. The World Wildlife Fund recommends halting overfishing of the species to allow it to recover, but consumer demand is still high. WWF is working with a number of countries such as France, Japan and Colombia to conserve the remaining wild bluefin tuna.
Recently a group of celebrities including Sting, Sienna Miller, and Charlize Theron wrote and signed a letter to Nobu, London stating they will boycott the restaurant until bluefin tuna is no longer served there. In response, apparently Nobu now lists bluefin tuna on their menus with a note that it is overfished and to consider an alternative, but they still serve the fish.
In Britain another restaurant chain dropped bluefin tuna from their menus after becoming aware of the fish’s endangered status. Management at this chain was swayed to act after viewing the ocean conservation documentary, The End of the Line.
Nobu is a chain of 12-18 restaurants around the world, with locations in
very large cities like London, New York, and Los Angeles. In June Greenpeace sent protestors to the Los Angeles location. The hope is if Nobu stops serving bluefin tuna, then other sushi restaurants may follow their example.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium indicates bluefin tuna are a fish for consumers to avoid, for the reason “bluefin tuna is being caught faster than it can reproduce”.
What You Can Do
If you are considering dining at a sushi restaurant that serves bluefin tuna, you may want to reflect upon alternative establishments. You can also contact any sushi restaurant before visiting, and find out if they serve bluefin tuna.
Image Credit: Bluefin Tuna Wiki