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Tuna Fish


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So. I own the DVD set of BBC's Blue Planet documentary about oceanic wildlife in the reefs and deep sea and arctic waters, and it includes the "Deep Trouble" mini-documentary in the extra features that shows how fishers are A.) catching fish too young to breed for a market where they'll be eaten, which is not sustainable, and B.) catching new species of fish now accessible by advanced methods of fishing (which amounts to basically scraping the ocean floor and its reefs...which is also not sustainable.)


And I've read the Time magazine article about how yellow fin tuna (or is it blue fin tuna?) are practically an endangered species--I think this was also covered in the "Deep Trouble" documentary I mentioned above.


Still, when I pull into the canned goods aisle at the grocery store, I'm faced with shelves upon shelves of canned tuna fish. I have to squint to find sardines. Canned mackarel is an urban legend to me. There is just always so much tuna in stock, and I suspect that there's a high turnover rate of produce, even canned... even though I only buy one can that day, because I do, because it's frankly the most value for my money when it comes to how much meat is actually in there and what nutrients (I've read that) there are. When it's raw or treated like with sushi or sashimi, I can't help that it's my favorite.


But of course I am aware of the implications of each purchase, and feel like I've let the world down even a little bit.



So far, I've done my best to switch to tilapia, which is a freshwater cultivated fish local to my area--and it can even be a bit of a pest, breeding the easy way it does. Its tolerance for brackish low water qualities make it a fish for the "lower class" but I don't care because I frankly think it's the most delicious cooked fish to grace any pescatarian's plate (although I'm not pescetarian myself).


Any other suggestions? If eel or catfish were more available, I'd go for that as well, although apparently in some parts of the world culinary eels are becoming a protected species...?

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  • 1 month later...

Tuna is a guilty pleasure of mine too, but I take comfort in knowing that hundreds of cans of packed tuna can be cultivated from a single fish.  It is an inexpensive flavorful meat that many people use to make sandwiches and meals with.  It is like any other animal on this planet that we use for a food source, we have to respect it and not waste any of the meat. 


Tillapia is an excellent fish and I am not sure why some consider it a poor person's fish. It has a nice flaky flavor that I really enjoy...not to mention the fact that it does not come at a poor person's price where I live :)

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And I've read the Time magazine article about how yellow fin tuna (or is it blue fin tuna?) are practically an endangered species--I think this was also covered in the "Deep Trouble" documentary I mentioned above.


There are so many different species of Tuna it's hard to say if the canned Tuna you bought in the supermarket contained meat from an endangered source of fish. Wikipedia says this about Tuna:


"In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the albacore, bigeye tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna, Atlantic bluefin tuna, southern bluefin tuna and the yellowfin tuna to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."


It is widely accepted that bluefin tuna have been severely overfished, with some stocks at risk of collapse. According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (a global, non-profit partnership between the tuna industry, scientists, and the World Wide Fund for Nature), Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna, Pacific Ocean (eastern & western) bigeye tuna, and North Atlantic albacore tuna are all overfished."


So I guess it call comes down to what sort of Tuna you buy.


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Ah, so there are species that aren't endangered! Good to know, although of course by the time it gets to my grocery store in cans, there's nobody who really knows what species got caught and butchered or all of that stuff. There are some "handline caught" tuna cans that claim to be better for the biodiversity or the environment, but that's quite a bit more expensive.


My grocery store has also begun stocking canned squid and cuttlefish, which I don't know about the impact on biodiversity or the environment, but I'm actually really glad for some variety in the canned seafood section.

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