Our Love Of Sushi Has Nearly Killed Off The Bluefin Tuna

Sushi, tuna sashimi

Photo: Flickr/Frankartculinary

Our obsession with spicy tuna rolls has led bluefin tuna to the breaking point. The bluefin fishery is on the verge of collapse, scientists said in a new report released this week, The New York Times reports.The report was created by the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean and analysed catch data from 1952 to 2011. Data included the number of fish caught, how big they were and how much effort (i.e. time spent fishing) was put into the catch. They used this data to model how big the population is and how it has changed over time. 

There’s no good news in the report: They found that bluefin tuna population has dropped more than 96 per cent from its unfinished levels. This is similar to the drastic impact fishing has had on other species, like sharks.

Who is to blame? Most of the fishing of bluefin tuna happens off the coast of Japan, which has virtually no limits on tuna fishing. 80 per cent of bluefin tuna are used for sushi — stuffed into our mouths in the form of spicy tuna rolls and toro sashimi.

As the fish get more and more rare, their prices will continue to skyrocket. On Jan. 5 a large (488 pound) bluefin tuna sold at auction for 1.8 million dollars.

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