THE BLOG
04/24/2014 05:55 pm ET Updated Jun 24, 2014

Obama Ate What?

Oh no, no he didn't.

Oh yes. Apparently he did.

Remember the news earlier this week that President Obama, on his trip in Japan, ate at that famous Tokyo sushi restaurant?

Well, turns out that the restaurant serves one of the priciest and endangered fish on Earth: bluefin tuna.

This is a species that's the poster child for overfishing. Since large-scale fishing began Pacific bluefin tuna (the kind fished in Japan) has declined by a staggering 94 percent. Bluefin have suffered a similar plight around the globe, largely driven by their popularity as sushi.

But make no mistake, these are incredible fish when they're alive, capable of growing up to 9 feet long, weighing 1,000 pounds and swimming at speeds around 50 mph. Anyone who's seen a school of them knows what huge and remarkable beasts they are.

Sushi consumers, though, will pay top dollar for bluefin tuna so their desperate fight to survive is often ignored in favor of greed and profits. International fisheries regulators have been asked time and again to dramatically scale back but to little avail.

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Pacific Fisheries Management Council was supposed to recommend new regulations in the wake of science that showed the 94 percent decline in Pacific bluefin. Instead, though, they decided to do nothing.

That's why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, just filed a legal petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service to prohibit fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna. We've also launched a boycott of all restaurants that serve bluefin.

We know that, without action, these magnificent fish will remain on a harrowing path toward extinction. And then the fight will simply be, who will catch the last one and who will eat it?

It's depressing to contemplate that President Obama may have eaten one of few remaining bluefin tuna in the Pacific. He may have thought it was a delicacy. I can only think of it as the latest deeply troubling sign that, when it comes to the rarest wildlife on Earth, we still have a lot more work to do.