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06 September 2014


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A commercial ban makes sense. It helped save redfish in coastal Florida and I believe striped bass in the Chesapeake bay. The sports fishing in both areas is both profitable and sustainable.



Although I am a sashimi lover I completely agree with you. I have a personal ban on fish that I believe have stocks below the sustainable limit.


My suggestion is that we should get our neocon and r2p propagandists and our entire information operations apparatus including such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy on the task. Let's keep them busy with something productive and see if they can work their "magic" on the Japanese and Chinese people among others to only consume sustainable food.


I remember sitting in the Davao City airport waiting for return flights to Manila back in the 80's, eating yellow fin sushi & drinking San Miguel. It was unsettling, watching the caskets being loaded into the cargo hold of returning JAL flights, until you realized they were in fact corrugated tri-walls full of iced-down gutted tuna for the Japanese sushi bars.
I understand that the PI has instituted pretty good controls on the "harvest" (well, there's always the Chinese and their pirate fishing fleet), but doubt the USG can be heavy handed enough with our own Gloustermen to cut into our side of the trade. The moratorium is a good idea, but we'd have to enforce it against the other fleets (Scandies, etc.) in our ETA.


(Looks around furtively) Ahem .... Dúlamán



PS: The song is nice, only the Irish could dream up a song about eating seaweed and make it sound exciting:



Joking aside Colonel I agree. Way too many species already fished out with the result that they'll be generations recovering if they ever do. Lots of what were flourishing and lively communities on both sides of the Atlantic* have died.


* I don't know enough about the Pacific fisheries to comment.

Nancy K

I completely agree with you also and like others love sashimi and sushi. I just downloaded the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and will start making sustainable choices. I just had sardines for lunch, but it wasn't nearly as good as a large piece of ahi tuna dipped in sesame seeds and seared quickly on a hot skillet, oh well. I also noticed that there are 2 stores in my area that are on the approved list, Trader Joe's and Whole Paycheck, I mean Whole Foods. I will continue to eat seafood but will try and buy US farmed or wild caught and will have much smaller portions. Thank you for the article.


In reply to PirateLaddie 06 September 2014 at 11:51 AM

Don't know how true this is but I remember reading an article the gist of which was that the spread of Sushi bars across the globe has contributed greatly to over-fishing. It does seem intuitively plausible to me. Our local shopping centre every supermarket offers little trays of (overpriced) Sushi and they can't keep up with demand.


Charlie Wilson

Feed them fresh NeoCon flesh!

nick b


What a great post. My wife and I are fans of "Wicked Tuna". I'm kinda nutty about fishing shows in general. The World Fishing Network channel is usually on in my household (still griping to Comcast that I don't get it in HD). Along those lines (pun intended), you might want to check out "Bahama Lobster Pirates" on the Sportsman Channel, if you have it. It's similar to "Deadliest Catch", but in much better weather. I am also a huge fan of "Dave Mercer's: Facts of Fishing", mostly because the folks who edit his show make him look like such a buffoon.

Your post on Bluefin tuna in timely, especially with the NOAA's Nation Marine Fisheries Service adopting tougher restrictions on long line fishing and establishing electronic monitoring. The only unfortunate thing about the new restrictions is that it allocates a larger portion of the quota to the long line fleet and away from selective fisherman who use rod and reel or harpoon, like the guys on "Wicked Tuna". Here's the amendment, it's long and dense, but interesting.

I was curious about how much of the tuna caught on "Wicked Tuna" actually goes to Japan, and I found an answer right on the NatGeo site in their FAQs:
"Q: There is a lot of discussion of the tuna going to Japan in the show. Does all of the bluefin caught off Gloucester go to Japan? And why is demand so high in Japan?
The US accounts for maybe 5% of the global Bluefin tuna catch and over half of the US catch is exported, mainly to Japan. About 3/4 of the global bluefin catch goes to Japan where its fatty flesh is consumed as the highest grades of sushi and sashimi - maguro and toro."

I must admit, I truly enjoy eating maguro and toro sushi. But at upwards of $10 per sushi piece for toro, it's only an occasional indulgence.

I can understand your call for a 20 year total ban on the fishery. But I think there are still ways to manage the fishery back to health in less time. For a good example, look to the success story of the Atlantic Striped Bass fishery. After near total collapse on the East coast of the US in the early 1980s, The Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act gave jurisdictional enforcement powers to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and caused certain States to declare a moratorium that lasted until the fishery improved to a sustainable level. It took five years. There's still work to be done, and it's not perfect, but it's much better and with mechanisms in place for continued conservation.

There is also one idea that some recreational striped bass fishermen have been pushing in recent years: game fish status. This means the law reserves the fish for recreational fishing only and allows no commercial sales. Perhaps this is way to save the Bluefin fishery and still allow for at least sport fishing to continue?

Not to be a pain in the ass, but Charlie Tuna is an Albacore.

Brien J Miller

I second your motion, sir!


Ted Bestor's book, Tsukiji: the Fish Market at the Center of the World, does a wonderful job describing the 'sushi' industry. It's academic, but a good read none-the-less. The wanton destruction of world fisheries parallels the killing of the buffalo and the passenger pigeon.

different clue

I agree also. If I could afford bluefin tuna I would decline to eat it anyway for this reason. A total worldwide ban on catching and selling this fish till its numbers recover to regulated fishability makes sense at every level. And we should all pay our share through either taxes or seafood fees or whatever is best to raise the sustainable money to fully pay for transition for any fishermen harmed by such a ban.

scott s.

OK but I don't think we should lump the Atlantic Bluefin fishery in with the Pacific Bluefin as well as the Pacific Big-eye, Yellowfin, and Albacore fisheries which I think are more important economically.


One of a deleterious consequences of the greater spread of wealth is the greater threat that various endangered species fall under.

I don't know if this is the case with respect to Bluefin Tuna, but, I am told that, as average East Asians (especially Chinese) are becoming wealthier, they want to have access to the goods that only the wealthy and the aristocratic had in the years gone by, like sharkfin soup or rhinoceros horn what-nots.


I lived in Davao City PI as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1978-80.

I remember the numerous, small restaurants on the waterfront that served Kinilaw (Filipino raw tuna) and Inihaw na Panga (Filipino grilled tuna jaw) along with San Miguel beer. I recall that there was a problem in the PI with dynamite fishing and am hoping that the PI government has instituted controls on the ocean harvest, but I'm skeptical.

These meals turned me on to Japanese Sushi cuisine which was gaining in popularity when I returned to the US. I still enjoy raw / cooked seafood but I am concerned about sustainability and would definitely support moratoriums of threatened species. I would also support banning all industrial fishing ships.


I fully agree a moratorium is the conservative approach but someone needs to remind the Unification Church or Moonies about this as they have built their True World empire off the Bluefin Tuna. A true Gloucesterman will tell you tales of how the Moonies ruined the fishing business out of that port.


Why don't you farm Bluefin tuna? We do.




We are not as smart as you. pl

alba etie

Even our local superstore HEB is selling sustainable
seafood now . John Mackey at Whole Foods market deserves much credit for supporting the sustainable seafood. Yes we do need to ban bluefin tuna fishing.

alba etie

Col Lang
Yes blue fin tuna should be no longer harvested .
This is why we belong to Sea Shepherd.
Paul Watson is still on the lame for disrupting illegal Blue Fin tuna fishing in the Mediterrean .

different clue


I read the kistuna entry and here is the second paragraph so everyone can read it:

Catch & Towing

"Tuna ranching involves the capture of wild SBT from the fishing grounds on the Continental Shelf in the Great Australian Bight. A procedure using a purse seine net to capture the live fish, which are then transferred in to a tow cage and towed at a maximum speed of 1 knot back to the holding farms within Port Lincoln."

If it doesn't involve domesticating the tuna enough that you can get captive tuna to spawn in captivity and hatch out and grow in captivity . . . and then have a re-breeding stock of these hatchery tuna lay yet more eggs to grow yet more tuna . . . how is it farming? Or even ranching?

If it still requires catching tuna from the wild, the question of "is it sustainable" still arises just the same as ever.

(Or is this a joke that I am just too "dumm" to get?)

Bill H

"...and 'The Deadliest Catch' about crab fishing in the Bering Sea, they speak to me."

Yes. That show is a bit repetitve, but it is wonderfully filmed and the shots of that angry sea evoke memories of the North Atlantic from the lookout perch of the diesel submarine on which I last served more than fifty years ago. Some things leave an impression that never fades.


A ban would pressure for adoption of new technology to farm tuna throughout the life cycle. FIsh farming has its own issues, but certainly takes pressure off of depleted stocks.


nick b


No, you got it. It's called 'captive farming'. The 'holy grail' of Bluefin tuna farming is to be able to breed them in captivity. It's being tried, but it's very difficult. I believe there have been some successes in Japan, Australia and the US, but I couldn't tell you if it's anything commercially viable yet.

John Minnerath

Having spent a couple years with the fishermen of Gloucester, shortly after I got out of the Army, I appreciate how hard it is for them to make a living. Fishing for Bluefin or anything else.
Control of Japanese factory fishing operations world wide would go a long way to keeping the fishery of all species sustainable.

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