Sustainable Seafood: Alternatives to Bluefin Tuna

Try these tasty alternatives to bluefin tuna like Albacore and Pacific yellowfin and support sustainable seafood.

  • Bluefin Tuna
     With the recent $1.76 million sale of a single bluefin tuna in Tokyo, bluefin tuna — the poster child for sustainable seafood — is front page news again.
    Photo By Fotolia/lunamarina

  • Bluefin Tuna

This article was reposted with permission from Menuism.

With the recent $1.76 million sale of a single bluefin tuna in Tokyo, bluefin tuna — the poster child for sustainable seafood — is front page news again. These apex predators fetch such high prices because their populations are too low to support the demand, primarily fueled by the sushi market.

What’s Going On With Bluefin Tuna?

There are several species of bluefin tuna, and all of the world’s populations have declined dramatically in recent decades. Bluefin tuna are warm-blooded top predators that live for more than 20 years and are slow to mature. Due to their value, bluefin are taken at rates faster than they can repopulate. Many bluefin landed in today’s fleets are younger and smaller animals that haven’t had a chance to reproduce, further reducing their ability to bounce back from the immense fishing pressure.

Question: If the situation is so bad, why don’t we stop fishing bluefin tuna altogether?

Short answer: Money. These fish are extremely economically valuable.

Question: Then why not put strict limits on bluefin tuna fishing operations?

Short answer: The management of bluefin tuna is complicated. These fish are highly migratory and travel thousands of miles, crossing oceans and international borders. They are fished and regulated by many nations who don’t always see eye to eye on how to best regulate the species.

In this case, the sustainable seafood recommendation is not to choose bluefin tuna.

Since bluefin tuna is off the menu for conscientious seafood consumers, we asked some local chefs for recommendations for tasty alternatives. Chef Pete Lehmar of Gladstone’s Long Beach recommends U.S. Pacific yellowfin, also known as ahi.* “It has a very clean, non-gamey flavor,” says Lehmar. “The meat is bright red when raw and is perfect for sashimi, as well as in salads and sandwiches. Yellowfin is also fantastic blackened, making it an excellent choice for Cajun cuisine.”

4/28/2014 10:23:44 AM

we need to stop killing things - with the over population of the planet - animals cannot keep up. Re: bluefin - I believe it was 60 mins that did a segment on it and stated that the Mafia was behind a lot of the illegal fishing for them.

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