ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Bluefin tuna issue building in UK, will it jump the pond?

Now that a bevy of stars including actress Charlize Theron and Sting are aboard the campaign to save Bluefin tuna, even disrobing to promote the cause (weirdly, with a cod), the question remains, How far will the movement go?

Nobu restaurant group has not budged on the issue, other than issuing a warning label on its menu that the bluefin it serves is "threatened." Restaurateur Drew Nieporent who works with Nobu told the NY Post, "We're evaluating it. At the end of the day, we are going to do the right thing." But he did not say what he thought the "right thing" was. A stalling tactic? Or perhaps they're wondering how they can act without seeming to cave to the pressure. (For background, see my previous post: What Nobu Should Do on Bluefin Tuna).

The BBC points out that a couple of major British companies this week issued a ban on bluefin and are changing tuna sourcing: Pret A Manger, the sandwich chain in the UK, was getting rid of tuna. Marks & Spencer, another UK chain, also said it was switching to pole caught skipjack tuna, avoiding the purse seining method that also ensnares a lot of bluefin and dolphin in nets.

Tuna is a staple around the world, though whether it's sustainable depends upon the species, the place it was caught and the way it was caught. These are tough issues for a consumer to navigate, which is why it's worth checking out Seafood Watch, Blue Oceans Institute and EDF, which have done the leg work and have handy cards (and cell and iPhone apps) for sustainable seafood choices.

For a bit of history on tuna, check out How Tuna Conquered the World. And thanks to the shout outs at Blogfish and on the Nobu piece.
- Samuel Fromartz