I'll Have the Bluefin Tuna, Please. Sorry, the Ocean Just Ran Out
The European Union has just ordered its members to stop reeling in bluefin tuna for the rest of year.
Here's how the New York Times is interpreting this:
That may seem like a positive step toward saving the species, but it comes because the union’s fishing fleets have already caught their quota for the year — a quota that scientists say is twice as large as it should be.
The most immediate practical impact outside the fishing industry falls on restaurant chefs faced with a sudden hole in their menus. The longer-term question is how to manage the world’s ever-deepening bluefin addiction.
Do we have a bluefin tuna addiction? And are chefs worried about this?
To find out, I called Esca chef-restaurateur Dave Pasternack, my co-author on cookbook The Young Man and the Sea, tracking him down in Seattle. He had of course been fishing the day before in Vancouver.
Here's what the young man of the sea said:
"I'm not even using bluefin tuna at Esca these days. I'm using yellowfin, which is being caught locally in New York waters now.
"The meat on a yellowfin is not as meaty and mineraly as bluefin, but it's plenty fatty [Fat in fish as Pasternack describes it is a good thing. ed.], and though its fat has a slightly different flavor, I love yellowfin as much as bluefin. My customers do, too."
I guess we'll all survive a bluefin tuna shortage without too much hardship.