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BlueFin Tuna boycott organized by WWF in Hong Kong


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#1 Drew

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 01:30 PM

Itamae and Kyubei Sushi paid a record US$175,000 dollars for a 15 yr old, 233kg blue fin tuna at an auction in Tokyo last week.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8440758.stm

This fish, now on the brink of extinction, is now slated to be sold in Itamae Sushi in Hong Kong. WWF has organized a media campaign to denounce Itamae and Itacho Sushi, including posting an obituary in South China Morning Post and distributing pamphlets urging a boycott of the Itamae Sushi chain, which has over 20 outlets around Hong Kong. The chain's front man, Ricky Cheng, is known to buy high priced Blue Fin Tuna for his restaurants in the past.

Hong Kongers urged to boycott Itamae/Itacho sushi over Bluefin tuna

WWF Hong Kong has been waging a campaign for all sushi restaurants in Hong Kong to remove bluefin tuna from their menus in an open letter.

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#2 danielandrewclem

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 07:51 AM

This fish, now on the brink of extinction...


There are three bluefin tuna species, and the one that sold at auction is the least threatened of the three.

Just sayin'....
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#3 Drew

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 08:29 AM

Dude, if SSCS can embellish about being shot, I can embellish about the state of the T. Orientalis, which is in all probability going to go the same direction as the T Thynnus. :)

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#4 shawnh

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 08:30 AM

For clarity, by "lease threatened" do you mean highly likely to have complete population collapse vs absolutely certain to? From what I understand all bluefin populations are really in crisis...no?
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#5 Drew

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 08:36 AM

Well Shawn, the T. Maccoyii and Thynnus, the atlantic BFT are considered to be CR under IUCN. The Pacific BFT, the T Orientalis, is "only" vulnerable which is technically 2 steps from the Atlantic BFT. So basically Daniel is being precise, while I took lyrical license :)

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#6 asmigel

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 09:54 AM

Ugh, this makes me sick to my stomach.

It's this thing about the oceans . . . take take take, and never replenish or work on the overall health of the ecosystem.

#7 danielandrewclem

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 10:00 AM

It’s just a pet peeve of mine when folks conflate multiple species (or higher taxa, as is so often the case with sharks) in mainstream articles or campaign press releases. I know that conservation orgs feel the need to use imprecise language, generalities, and other shortcuts to generate momentum. But “on the brink of extinction” and “vulnerable” are very different things.
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#8 Drew

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:58 PM

Daniel, WWF did not write that. I did for effect. As you can see from the fisheries management perspective, there is still no moratorium ban on BFT for the "critically endangered" Atlantic species. Do you really think the Pacific BFT is not going to go the way of the Atlantic BFT? Imprecise as it is, but perhaps forboding in nature, that's the future situation if trends continue.
Plus the IUCN data is not updated for 2009 and looking at the NZ catch data, it looks like it's only 1.5-2 years behind the Atlantic BFT numbers.

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#9 danielandrewclem

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 04:19 PM

Drew,
I think we just disagree about what qualifies a species as being on the brink of extinction. When a reputable group like PIER writes that "the north Pacific [bluefin] population appears to be the only one of the three that has not been severely over-harvested," I take that as an indication that the species is not on the brink of extinction. And if the IUCN doesn't have this species listed as critically endangered, or the jury is still out, then I infer that this species is not in the same shape as its Atlantic cousin, and that it has quite a ways to go before it is even close to extinction. I don't begrudge your cynicism, and I understand the urge to employ hyperbole or lyrical license. I, personally, am just into it. But my main complaint was with the conflation of the three species into one, which is done again and again and again in the mainstream media.
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#10 Drew

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 05:47 PM

The ISC stock estimates have issues with the models used to assess stock. And these guys are mostly Japanese who are trying to manage the fisheries in the North Pacific. With non-reporting countries like South Korea and serious under reporting by fishing fleets in general, the pacific stock is not really accurately known. NOAA and other agencies have launched independent studies for stock assessment.
If there is a freeze in ABFT fishing, then I am pretty sure that the PBFT will be exploited to make up the loss in numbers.
I was on a boat in NZ last year for BFT and the total catch and release for PBFT was down. Statistics were collected for only the last 3 years but the fishermen (recreational) noticed a drop in size and weight as well as number of SBFT and PBFT (in fact SBFT was at single digit catch).
So either PBFT have stopped migrating that far south or there is anecdotal evidence that the stock assessment models are flawed. I don't doubt PIER's reputation but I do doubt the industry's ability to honestly and accurately release catch data. I also have read some of ISC's math models in assessing stock and the issues they are having with prediction of catch etc.
Still with the pace of which species are being driven to extinction, I suppose it's like climate change due to human factors, we may as well get accustomed and figure out ways to deal with the coming changes on the planet vs trying to prevent them.

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#11 ramaroodle

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:01 PM

OK. I've stopped ordering grouper because of the decimation of that species. I use the itunes sushi app to make sure I'm being environmentally correct. If you don't know about it, it tells you what you should and should not eat, but it seems it's impossible to keep up. I emailed my sushi chef today who I have great respect for regarding Blue Fin and got this response.

we got the spanish blue fin tuna
madai - tai snapper
hirame - fluke halibut
aji - horse mackerel
hira masa - australian yellow tail jackfish
alaskan ivory king salmon
ebodai - butter fish


Is there a difference between "spanish" blue fin or is that another mis-representation? Are the others in the list OK? I'm probably losing all of the benefits of eating sushi to the stress of not knowing if I'm killing the planet. :-)

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#12 danielandrewclem

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:50 PM

Andy,
If it's "Spanish" as in caught near Spain, then your chef is offering Atlantic bluefin, Thunnus thynnus, which is the most endangered of the three bluefin species.
-Dan
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#13 xariatay

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:29 PM

I like the boycott. It will bring awareness to the public. Maybe soon it would be "politically incorrect" to eat blue-fin tuna, no matter how rich a person is...
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