Just Say Maybe: Tuna. [Sustainable vs. overharvested, mercury]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Nov 26, 2008
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Switch to salmon, guys.

“80% of blue fin tuna is consumed by one country. You know who you are, stop eating the ocean clean.”

“A lot of the restaurants in Western Nations reimport it from Japan. It sounds strange, but tuna does go from New England to Japan and then back to New York. It’s just the way the market is set up. The fisherman sell to the Japanese first.”

This is during my lifetime: “90% of the world’s fisheries are overexploited, and experts estimate that we only have 30-40 years of fishing left before the oceans are empty.”

End of the Line:

If you eat tuna, you’re the last link in the “greed“-based supply-demand chain that is rapidly exhausting the tuna stock, leading scientists to believe that tuna will never recover (they’ll be as inbred as the Hapsburgs). So if you love to eat tuna, don’t eat tuna. …Until our governments agree to manage catches at sustainable levels. ‘Cause otherwise, you’re gonna be left with a population so depopulated it’ll be unable to repopulate itself. Say that sentence three times fast.  And I’m not even getting into the mercury issue, mommas-to-be.

So what kinds of tuna are eco-okay to munch on? Considering they’ve all been fished, frozen, shipped, reshipped and mailed the length of the earth, I say less is more—fishing in a local stream might be the greenest solution next to vegetarianism. But if my half-baked opinion ain’t enough for you, the experts (below, an excerpt) have better-informed…er…information.

And, as always, a great way to effect change is simply to ask your waiter, waitress, or manager at your favorite local sushi den. I’ve been doing so for a few years at Hapa. Two years back, they didn’t know what I meant. “Sustainable?,” they’d say. “You mean, wild? I’ll check with the manager.”

No, I didn’t mean wild salmon or whatnot—so-called wild are as overfished as anyfishbody else.

Now, only 30 dinners later, Hapa’s looking to add a sustainably-harvested icon (much like chili peppers for ‘spicey’) to those items on their menus that hail from strong fish populations.

I can’t wait.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


9 Responses to “Just Say Maybe: Tuna. [Sustainable vs. overharvested, mercury]”

  1. Todd says:

    I’d heard about this and so I’ve sworn off tuna (much as I love it); in fact, I’ve sworn off any and all fish that isn’t on the Monterey Bay’s “okay to eat” list. Ah, well… better the planet than a bit of fish on rice. 🙂

  2. Le sigh… I guess the mercury ain’t too good for ya either.

  3. admin says:

    You can download their excellent guide, print it, fits in your wallet: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_sushi.aspx

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