Our final bite of sushi?

An adaptation of Paul Greenberg's book, “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food,” will be featured on the cover of Sunday's New York Times Magazine.  Greenberg, a 2007-2008 Food and Society Fellow, writes prolifically on global fisheries, and his latest book will be published next month by Penguin Press.

Tuna’s End

By Paul Greenberg

Tuna_NYTimesOn the morning of June 4, in the international waters south of Malta,
the Greenpeace vessels Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise deployed
eight inflatable Zodiacs and skiffs into the azure surface of the
Mediterranean. Protesters aboard donned helmets and took up DayGlo
flags and plywood shields. With the organization’s observation
helicopter hovering above, the pilots of the tiny boats hit their
throttles, hurtling the fleet forward to stop what they viewed as an
egregious environmental crime. It was a high-octane updating of a
familiar tableau, one that anyone who has followed Greenpeace’s Save
the Whales adventures of the last 35 years would have recognized. But
in the waters off Malta there was not a whale to be seen.

What was in the water that day was a congregation of Atlantic bluefin
tuna, a fish that when prepared as sushi is one of the most valuable
forms of seafood in the world. It’s also a fish that regularly journeys
between America and Europe and whose two populations, or “stocks,” have
both been catastrophically overexploited. The BP oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico, one of only two known Atlantic bluefin spawning grounds, has
only intensified the crisis. By some estimates, there may be only 9,000
of the most ecologically vital megabreeders left in the fish’s North
American stock, enough for the entire population of New York to have a
final bite (or two) of high-grade otoro sushi.

Read more in The New York Times Magazine Preview.

This entry was written by Abigail Rogosheske and was originally posted on the IATP Food and Society Fellows Fresh Ideas Blog. Photo Credit: Kenji Aoki for The New York Times.