The first bluefin tuna of the year sold in Tokyo has yet again garnered an astronomical price -- encouraging the view of this beleaguered animal as a high-status food when they deserve to stand with the white rhino and the mountain gorilla as a species under our protection.
Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of the Tokyo-based restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai, recently paid 1.76 million dollars for a very nice looking 488-pound bluefin tuna. That's an average of about $3,600 per pound -- a mere $225 per ounce.
The disruption of entire eco-systems is harmful to the people who depend upon them for their economic survival. Poaching in developing countries may temporarily enrich the poachers, but posterity is inevitably impoverished.
For 30 years, fisheries experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have tried to protect western Atlantic bluefin tuna from surface longlines in the Gulf of Mexico, the severely depleted fish's only known spawning area.
Learning that bluefin tuna caught off California contain traces of radioactivity is disturbing regardless of health risks to diners. But the fact is, when it comes to tuna, we have more serious problems to worry about, like mercury and overfishing.