Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blue Fin Tuna - an endangered species?

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that it will support placing the Blue Fin Tuna on the International Trade Endangered Species list.

I love tuna - as a food. My favorite - after peanut butter. In tuna salad, tuna steaks (rare/medium rare), in Italian tuna salad with capers, garlic, onions, oil & vinegar. It's a great food.

I remember the thrill of my Dad and Frank Sheridan returning with a bunch of blue fins landed from fighting chairs with Penn Reels on the black 40' Egg Harbor, which the two Navy vets piloted for the aging mafioso Terry Zappi, and his next door neighbor the Don - Carlo Gambino.

But the huge, primordial herds of these kings of the sea (savage beasts that they are) have been devastated by modern fishing methods. An 82% decline in the western Atlantic herds (which breed in the Gulf of Mexico) and 72% decline in the eastern Atlantic herds (which breed in the Mediterranean) have been reported.

NOAA reports that the western herds have stabilized but not the eastern. The U.S. says it will support placement of all herds on the International Endangered species list. The impression one gets is that "if only the guys on the other side were as good as us it could be managed). Maybe. But overall we can say that the announcement is a step forward, which could preserve a significant food supply - particularly in a time when climate change will challenge the viability of many species.