Atlantic bluefin tuna faces extinction crisis, 80% is consumed by Japan

In the world's largest tuna trading market, Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market, an ordinary bluefin tuna sells for 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. dollars.

The death of bluefin tuna is like a precision instrument, relying on a half-moon-shaped thin tailed fibrillation to form a propulsion system that utilizes the heat of metabolism to make its body temperature much higher than the surrounding water temperature and cross the arctic ice at a speed of 40 miles per hour. Sea area. This kind of unusually fit fish, humans are only willing to enjoy high-end cuisine, but no country is willing to give them a sustainable future.

On the early morning of June 4th, in the international waters of southern Malta, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior and the Polar Dawn placed eight Zodiac speedboats and dinghies on the blue sea of ​​the Mediterranean Sea. The demonstrators on the boat were wearing safety helmets, hand-held DayGlo flags and plywood shields. Greenpeace's observation helicopter hovered in mid-air. The pilots of the dinghy stepped on the gas and took the small fleet forward to prevent a shocking environmental crime in their eyes.

On this waters day cruise was a group of Atlantic bluefin tuna. If made into sushi, this tuna will be one of the most expensive seafood in the world. This fish travels regularly between the Americas and Europe, and its two stocks have been overfished. The Gulf of Mexico is one of the two known spawning grounds for Atlantic bluefin tuna. The crude oil spill of British Petroleum (BP) has worsened the situation of bluefin tuna. It is estimated that the tuna in this ecological crisis has only about 9,000 populations in North America. Using them to make the fine otoro (sushi terminology, refers to the fatty belly of tuna) sushi, only enough to bite one or two people in New York. The population of Mediterranean bluefin tuna, which has consistently exceeded the North American population, has also been significantly reduced. In fact, most fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean includes the use of wild young juveniles to expand tuna farms. This is why Greenpeace is operating outside Malta: A French fishing boat will legally harvest a whole group of tuna, most of which are undoubtedly juvenile fish.

The 34-year-old British Knowles was responsible for coordinating the intervention. He mentioned the strategy of the operation on the phone. "These fishing operations include a huge seine boat and a small speed boat." Knowles said. The seine net is a type of fishing net used by industrial fishing fleets. The reason for this is because it is similar to the method used to fish large groups of coins in vintage money bags. “The speedboat is dragging the fishing net to enclose the tuna, and then the trap is almost closed.” Knowles explained, “This is the key intervention point. It is also part of our strong moral mission.”

However, when the Zodiac speedboat approached the French-owned fishing boat Jean-Marie Christian VI, the scene was in chaos. Not what Norse expected, the French seine boat sent a speedboat and began trawling around tuna. After seeing the Green Peace's Zodiac Speedboat, the captain immediately issued a distress signal. “Mayday!” he cried out loudly on the radio. “There was a pirate attack!” The other fishing boats immediately came to the rescue after receiving the signal. Greenpeace’s members demonstrated their identity through VHF radio equipment and declared that they were conducting a “peace operation”.

In one of the Zodiac speedboats, Green Peace, 20, of Heavison, sat. He tried to get the driver to drive the speedboat to the fishing net to throw the daisy-chained sandbags on the fishing net and let the bluefin tuna escape. But Hevesen had not had time to throw the sandbags out. A French fishing boat crashed into the boat he was riding. Then Hevisson's leg was dragged toward the bow. "I started to think that I was caught in a trap," recalled Hevesson, who was in a hospital bed in London. "Then I lowered my head and looked." The fishermen trying to pierce the Zodiac Speedboat put a three-pronged grapple tied to the rope. Throw it into the boat and the hook passes between Hevesson's calf's leg bones and muscles. (Greenpeace later quoted the whaling protester's old remark when reporting the situation to AFP. Heavison "had a fork.")

"My leg! My leg!" Heavison yelled in French and wanted the fisherman to loosen the rope on the hook. According to Hevesson, the fisherman first relaxed the rope, but after thinking about it, he tightened the rope again. In the end, Heavison used the elasticity of the rope to break the grapple off. According to Greenpeace’s Knowles, fishermen holding harpoon and sharp sticks sank another Zodiac speedboat and fired a signal bomb at the observation helicopter. In this case, the protesters decided to suspend the operation.

Wen Delin, executive director of the tuna fishing cooperative belonging to the Jean-Marie Christian VI fishing boat, called Greenpeace's protest action "unquestionable provocation" and caused "expensive fishing equipment" to be damaged.

But there was no doubt that bluefin tuna was the biggest victim of that day. After that conflict, the fishermen on Jean-Marie Christian VI transferred live tuna to a fish cage and slowly towed it away. Next, these tuna will be kept in the fish circle for several months to increase their weight. After that, they will be slaughtered and shipped to Japan. Eighty percent of the world’s Atlantic bluefin tuna is silently becoming a dish of people in the world.

When they just left the water, the bluefin tuna's back pulsated with neon blue, and its belly sparkled with silver-pink iridescence. They looked like the ocean.

There are two reasons why this kind of fish can make Greenpeace do the same as protecting the whales. First, fish lovers have long recognized the characteristics of bluefin tuna. If they are terrestrial creatures, these traits are enough to make them be regarded as wild animals, not seafood that we can enjoy. Bluefin tuna not only has a solid muscle tissue that is well suited for crossing the ocean, but also has some features that make their evolutionary appearances look like god-made instruments. Otherwise, how could a fish grow a sextower-like “pine window” over its head to help them sail thousands of miles? How could it rely on the half-moon thin tail quivering to form the propulsion system, allowing it to speed forward at 40 mph? How can it possibly use its metabolic heat to make its body temperature far higher than the surrounding water temperature under the appearance of cold-blooded fish and help itself to cross the icy waters of the Arctic? Bluefin tuna is a warm-blooded animal.

The bluefin tuna is huge - 10 feet long and weighs more than 1,000 pounds. For those who have seen it or touched it by themselves, the hard skin of the bluefin tuna hardly wraps around the bloated muscle tissue. They should have larger body sizes. All fish will change color after they die. The change in the death of tuna is even more impressive. When they just left the water, the bluefin tuna's back pulsated with neon blue, and its belly sparkled with silver-pink iridescence. They looked like the ocean.

In a sense, they are the ocean itself. This is also the second reason why bluefin tuna has this kind of totem power. Because bluefin tuna and all tuna populations are vivid symbols of the limits of the ocean. Their decline is a warning. We may be destroying the last source of wild food.

We now have more wild fish and shellfish caught from the sea than the total population of China. This latest trend has allowed fisheries to expand from the continental shelf to international unmanned waters, or the open sea. This sea area begins in the country’s exclusive economic zone and ends in the exclusive economic zone of another country. The high seas are not subject to jurisdiction and are only subject to multilateral agreements. According to the statistics of the Sea Around Us project of the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Center, the number of fish caught in the high seas in the first half of the century has increased by 700%, of which tuna accounts for the majority. Since tuna migrates through many countries, even if they leave the high seas and enter a country’s waters, they are still within the jurisdiction of the poorly enforced tuna international agreements.

The almost unprotected state of affairs has triggered the largest goldfish tuna boom in history. The most obvious consequence is the sharp decline in the number of Atlantic bluefin tuna. But it is only a microcosm of the growing proliferation of tuna fishing frenzy. According to a report by the FAO, 7 of the 23 commercial tuna fisheries have been overfished and the other 9 are facing this threat. The Pew Environment Group’s tuna campaign declared that “the tuna and fishing nets that have been thrown out of tuna fishing vessels surpass any other fishery.” The fate of tuna is both real and allegory. They are both one of the largest remaining wild fish supply sources in the world and the end of the idea that the Oceans Association will provide endless fish resources.

“We found ourselves in a difficult situation.” Nortar, a partner at internationally renowned chain restaurant Nobu, wrote to Greenpeace in response to their request that Nobu restaurant no longer provide tuna food. “We are faced with thousands of years of cultural practices. The Japanese’s dependence on tuna and other marine products has lasted for hundreds of years. This is part of their culture and history. We appreciate your goals and efforts, but It is far from easy to say that we are removing the tuna suddenly called the endangered species from the menu. It is about customs, traditions and lifestyle."

Many countries and the Atlantic bluefin tuna crisis are difficult to get rid of, but Japan, the world’s largest importer of bluefin tuna, is the most active defender of tuna fishing. Westerners like Notar also back it up from time to time to promote the long history of tuna in this country. However, history shows that the Japanese fishing for tuna is only one of the cases in which the entire mankind entered the tuna era. Before the 19th century, Japan had no tuna sushi at all.

Coulson is a documentary writer who switched from an East Asian researcher and is the author of the book “Story of Sushi” published in 2007. Coulson often entertained guests at Jewel Bako, a Japanese restaurant in Manhattan, to reveal the historical facts of tuna and show each of the representative fish from the early sushi. In an excerpt from a Japanese collection of Coulson's "Fish Experts Telling the Secrets of Delicious Fish," Murata writes, "The fish of red meat are perishable and have a bad smell. So before the refrigerator appeared, Japanese aristocrats are despising them and this attitude has also been inherited by the citizens of Edo (old Tokyo).” Until 170 years ago, a local sushi chef marinated a few slices of tuna meat with soy sauce and produced a “grip”. Sushi". Bluefin tuna is also occasionally used as a raw material for sushi, and Coulson also noticed that the fish had individual names called "four days" because the chef would store them for four days to relieve the fish's bloody smell.

In the 1930s, tuna sushi became popular in Japan. However, the local tuna, including the Pacific bluefin tuna that lives in the coastal waters of Japan, can also meet the demand. In World War II, tuna fishing rose a step. Suzuki Giro of Japan’s Far Sea Research Laboratory stated that “after the post-war Japanese fishermen needed to catch more tuna to meet domestic demand, and at the same time, canned tuna was exported to Europe and the United States to increase income. This demand has promoted the expansion of fishing. "But this fishing expansion also has technical factors. The Japanese perfected the longline method after the war and could hang thousands of hooks on long lines. In the 1970s, Japanese manufacturers developed lightweight, high-strength polymers that could be woven into trawls for up to several miles. Longline and trawling with sea-based freezing technology enables Japanese fishermen to fish further afield and save tuna for up to one year.

During this period, Japanese fish were mainly yellowfin tuna. Although they also eat bluefin tuna, they did not value blue fins until the 1960s. It is a series of socio-economic factors in Japan and the West that pushed the blue fins to the top. In the 1960s and 1970s, Japanese aircraft were often loaded with electronic products to fly to the United States, but they were empty when they returned. When a Japanese businessman realized that he could buy New England and Canadian bluefin tuna at a very low price, he began to stuff tuna in these empty cargo tanks. The Japanese who had become familiar with beef and other high-fat meats during the occupation by the US began to be attracted by the blue fin's fatty belly. The largest Atlantic blue fin is also the most popular species. This trend also in turn affects Americans' sashimi eating habits.

The canned tuna industry has exerted tremendous pressure on the fishing industry. Sushi addiction among Japanese and Westerners has brought pressure to tuna groups around the world. The most ecologically sensitive Atlantic blue fins are just the beginning, and the crisis may spread to other schools of fish. In fact, a sub-population of the Atlantic blue fins has disappeared after the Japanese longline fishing boat’s indiscriminate fishing. The remaining Atlantic bluefin tuna faces a similar situation, and the other two bluefin tuna - the Pacific blue fins that live between California and Japan and the southern blue fins that travel to and from Australia's coastal waters - are also in jeopardy. In the United States, industrial longline fishing boats lay large hooks on the Gulf of Mexico where the bluefin tuna spawned, searching for yellowfin tuna, causing a large number of blue fins to become collateral victims. Although according to the law, these blue fins that are incidentally caught have to be thrown back into the sea, they were almost dead at that time.

All of the above made the bluefin tuna a sensational target for many conservation organizations and the "save blue fins" movement. However, Japanese consumers remain unmoved. Take the Nobu restaurant as an example. After communicating with Greenpeace several times, the owners of the restaurant still insist on supplying tuna. Their only concession was to add a warning to the menu of their London restaurant: Bluefin tuna is an ecologically endangered species. Please consult the waiter for alternative dishes.

In response, Greenpeace’s member McKinsey in the UK wrote an angrily to Naughtar and said, “Although you promise to take these issues seriously, you also hope that Nobu will become a pioneer in this field, but when you propose to decide by the customer When you eat endangered species, you are trying to evade responsibility."

The African countries eventually stood on the side of Japan. After Libya and the Sudan demanded an immediate vote, the bill for the inclusion of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the appendix of the Convention was rejected by many votes.

Today, the high seas and frequently migrating fish are being monitored by 18 regional fisheries management organizations. In these "consensus-oriented" institutions, each member country is on an equal footing. However, their operations are still more influenced by political transactions than rational science. A former chairman of the International Atlantic Tuna Conservation Committee (ICCAT) said, “Even if scientific theories tell you that you should stick to specific catches, they will often loosen up this number in order to reach a deal.” This looseness may be sufficient A tuna population is in crisis.

In 2008, the number of Atlantic Bluefins set by ICCAT was almost twice as many as scientists suggested. After the environmentalists vociferously questioned, this figure was drastically reduced. But at the ICCAT conference in November 2009, environmentalists had targeted the management of Atlantic blue fins. Many people believe that simply cutting the amount of fish that can be caught is not enough. In fact, zero-fishing is the only way to avoid this. The way fishes are extinct. ICCAT rejected the zero-fishing proposal. What followed was a more sharp confrontation. The party including Japan believes that fisheries management issues can be resolved while maintaining the status quo, while environmentalists are seeking a new direction to tackle the high seas issue.

In March 2010, representatives from all parties attended the United Nations Conference on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora held in Doha, Qatar. The importance of this meeting to fish may be equivalent to the 1982 International Whaling Commission’s meeting to issue a global commercial whaling ban. If the environmentalists win, the Atlantic bluefin tuna will be listed in Appendix I of the Convention. The international tuna trade will be banned and the tuna will be under the jurisdiction of UN agencies like tigers, white rhinos and giant pandas. . That will be the first step in the transition of Atlantic bluefin tuna from seafood to wildlife.

It is this redefining process that whales have experienced, and Japan is trying to avoid similar situations in the Atlantic bluefin tuna. Official of the Japan Fisheries Agency official Miyahara said, “The Appendix I of the Convention is too rigid. Once the species is listed in the appendix, it will never be removed from the appendix.” In other words, once a fish becomes wild Animals will always be so. The convention agreement will also allow countries to continue to fish bluefin tuna in the waters of their territories, but prohibits other convention member countries from getting involved. Miyahara Masaru believes that this result is not only unfair but may also lead to overfishing.

Japan’s position on the issue of the high seas is understandable. Their average per capita consumption of seafood is higher than that of any industrialized country. Japan also did not completely ignore the problems caused by overfishing and oversized fishing boats. In fact, in the past few years, Japan has tried to curb industrial fishing, reduce fishing boats, and remove hooks from the sea. But this does not solve another problem in the tuna era. While developed countries are beginning to realize that the high seas are managed more rationally, developing countries are moving in the opposite direction. “Developing countries firmly believe that they have the right to expand their fisheries, and that developed countries should reduce their fishing practices as compensation,” said Suzuki Giro of Japan’s Far Sea Research Laboratory. “In the process of resolving this conflict of interest, fish Being overfished. This is actually another example of the North-South issue, just like CO2 emissions."

The conflict between developing and developed countries has played an increasingly important role in tuna negotiations. In the interest disputes involving 175 countries, it is difficult for you to figure out who is controlling whom. Representatives of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Pew Environment Group disclosed some entanglements before voting on bluefin tuna. It is said that members of the Japanese delegation told the African representative that if the bluefin tuna’s motion is passed, the European fishing fleet will travel to Africa’s coast to catch African yellowfin tuna. In fact, European fishing boat equipment is aimed at blue fins and lacks the ability to catch yellow fins. Officials of Japan's Fisheries Department, Miyahara, denied the rumors.

Regardless of the truth, African countries eventually stood on the side of Japan. After Libya and the Sudan demanded an immediate vote, the bill for the inclusion of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the appendix of the Convention was rejected by many votes.

Representatives from various countries left Qatar with the status quo. The one-month bluefin tuna seine fishing season set by ICCAT in the Mediterranean Sea will start on schedule, and the number of fisheries that can be harvested exceeds what scientists have suggested. One month after the end of the convention, BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, dumping large amounts of oil into the bluefin tuna, the only spawning ground in the Americas, the Gulf of Mexico. Although the National Oceanic and Fisheries Administration of the United States has been critical of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishing, they have never been indifferent to the United States’ own fishery. When asked whether to consider the closure of the bluefin tuna fishing season, they issued a Nobu restaurant-style statement that “NOAA Fisheries Bureau is monitoring bluefin tuna spawning in the Gulf of Mexico by collecting fry specimens and analyzing scientific observations. ”

It seems that no country is ready to promise a sustainable future for fish. Some people may say that the demise may be the fate of bluefin tuna. Other smaller tuna may be more adaptable to industrial fishing. Bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna usually grow faster and land eggs earlier. In fact, these small tuna have begun to fill the gap in bluefin tuna. In the United States, most Americans get bigeye tuna when they order the most expensive fatty abdomen sushi. However, the number of bigeye tuna is also decreasing. If they are extinct, it is hard to say what the next alternative will be.

Various environmental organizations support Greenpeace’s proposal for marine protected areas, but they have different views on the size of protected areas. The Blue Ocean Institute proposed a five-year global ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna. WWF further advocates a total ban on industrialized fishing methods, including trawls, longlines, fences and fixed-point aircraft. In their view, the single-line single-line traditional fishing method is the only way to continue to hunt bluefin tuna.

But if we are to start a global project to reduce tuna fishing, what do we eat later?

Until modern times, we all responded to this situation in a primitive way: Animals that disappeared in large areas under our hunting were replaced by a small number of animals that we could tame.

Although a leap has been achieved in the domestication of marine fish, tuna, especially bluefin tuna, may not be of much significance to the farm. The Mediterranean blue fin farm, the Pacific blue fin farm in Japan, and the southern blue fin farm in Australia are all strongly criticized by environmentalists because they rely on wild juvenile fishery. Now, the final step of fully domesticating bluefin tuna is underway, which will allow bluefin tuna to grow from laboratory fish eggs to full-scale adult fish. In this system, an isolated bluefin tuna family can be established without any contact with the wild environment.

In recent years, Japan has produced this closed-life Pacific bluefin tuna (called Kindai tuna in the market) in small quantities. In Europe and Australia, scientists have used the light control technology and slow-release hormone implants invented by the Israeli endocrinologist Zohar to achieve the first large-scale artificial spawning of Atlantic blue and southern blue fins. But the outlook is still quite complicated. “The problem is that the metabolic rate of this fish is much higher than that of other fish. They swim quickly, which will increase their brains,” explained Smalen, an Australian feed company specialist who specializes in feeding bluefin tuna. And the temperature of vital organs, and maintaining a higher body temperature than the surrounding water temperature, so this is more expensive from an energy point of view.For example, it is like the diet of super marathoners who can eat a lot of food without increasing their weight. Smron said that now it takes 15 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of tuna, which is almost 10 times that required for farmed salmon.

With the decline of global fisheries, more and more countries are trying to replace wild fish with farmed fish. Every year, 30 million tons of bait fish are caught, most of which are used to feed farmed fish. If bluefin tuna is farmed as large as salmon, tuna may consume the food resources of the remaining wild fish.

This time I used more force and the needle slipped into the flanks of the fish. I feel the firmness of fish. It is not a meaty feeling made of delicious sushi, but a perfect display of magical evolution.

Seafood, how many species have caused these tribulations? Romantic European culture is known as "The Fruit of the Sea" and the Slavs call it "the gift of the sea". Some so-called vegans regret to slaughter captive terrestrial animals but regularly consume wild fish. Jewish law requiring humane slaughter of animals does not apply to fish.

When I was probably the last time I saw wild bluefin tuna, these ideas appeared in my head. I was on a boat more than 20 miles off the coast of Cape Khatler in North Carolina. The Tag-a-Giant Foundation, which leased the boat, tried to uncover the complex migration pattern of bluefin tuna, thus providing a scientific basis for the protection of fish. Members of Tag-a-Giant have been fishing for tuna for several days, but for me it was the first time in my life.

In the past, I may enjoy this challenge and use a more labor-saving, more entertaining way to fish. However, after understanding the tuna and their possible survival, I suddenly felt that the full display of human strength is the more appropriate way to fight with tuna. Because the tuna is unable to compete with us after all. We have achieved hegemony over the entire water world, from inland lakes and rivers to coastal zones, from the continental shelf to the vast open seas.

On a giant fishing boat, sitting in a huge fighting chair, controlling the huge fishing rod and reel. Who is dominant is self-evident.

When my bluefin tuna left the water, someone opened the stern door and placed a blue vinyl pad on the deck. The fish was dragged from the middle of the door to the deck and its tail was still banging. The biologist Bustani immediately covered the fish's big eyes with moist material and put a water pipe in his mouth. Less than a moment, it quieted.

"Do you want to tag it?" Bustani asked me.

I took a 4-inch needle from his hand and then aligned it with the fish's dorsal fin. As soon as the needle pierced the skin, I opened my hand.

"No," Bustani said. "You have to pierce it completely."

This time I used more force and the needle slipped into the flanks of the fish. I feel the firmness of fish. It is not a meaty feeling made of delicious sushi, but a perfect display of magical evolution. This evolution allowed the bluefin tuna to speed up in the ocean at a warship-like speed. It should be as good as the most amazing engine, but not as food.

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