Monday, December 01, 2008

Tuna going away

This is sad. I guess that I should reduce or eliminate my consumption until tuna can be fished sustainably or farmed without depleting the wild population:
No one is concerned that we're on the verge of eating cows into extinction. We have managed to transform cows into a sort of plant: We can, given sufficient land and nutrients, grow virtually as many of them as we'd like. This is true with certain types of fish, too. Farmed salmon has its problems, but fundamentally, we know how to make lots of it. Not so with bluefin tuna and a variety of other wild fishes, where the question is whether current consumption patterns might lead to the fish's wholesale extinction. The problem, for now, is that no one knows how to breed bluefish tuna in captivity. They take about 12 years to reach sexual maturity, and they don't like to breed outside their natural habitat. Bluefin tuna are nevertheless farmed, but that means capturing them in the wild and then fattening them in captivity to speed their path to the market. Which depletes the stock of adult bluefins able to reproduce. So for now, farming tuna does not mean growing them, as it does with salmon and cows. Which is not to say scientists aren't trying.


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