Record Price for Bluefin Tuna – A Case of Dollars Over Sense

Created on Friday, 06 January 2012

Bluefin Medium

Yesterday, A Pacific bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record $736,000 in the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. The grossly inflated price is a reflection of excitement surrounding the auction opening, the implicit value of publicity for the buyer and of course the declining overall supply of bluefin due to overfishing.

The facts are indisputable that bluefin are declining worldwide and unless serious changes are made, are heading for extinction. They do not have a rightful place in the human diet. So what alternatives exist?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium suggests a number of alternatives for bluefin tuna on their Culinary Chart of Alternatives including U.S. Pacific albacore caught by pole/troll methods, which typically results in minimal bycatch. More progressive sushi restaurants, such as FishWise partners Tataki and Geisha have shunned bluefin tuna, replacing it with albacore (shiromaguro) and hook and line caught yellowfin tuna (maguro) which can also be sourced sustainably from the U.S Pacific, U.S Atlantic and more recently the Western Pacific region.

Please do your part to curb demand for the rapidly disappearing bluefin by taking the time to consider the real cost of the seafood you eat.