Day 6: Sushi Saturday
Don't forget to tag #WildlifeWeek on social media.
- Share: Sign the Center’s Bluefin Boycott petition, which is mobilizing thousands of people around the world to not eat or serve bluefin tuna sushi. and share the petition with friends on social media.
- Eat: Don’t forget that every meal is an “oppor-tuna-ty” to take extinction off your plate.
- Act: Eat out. Treat yourself to a meatless dinner at a restaurant, such as veggie sushi at Japanese restaurants that don’t serve bluefin tuna. Don't be shy about making menu items meatless by requesting tofu or extra veggies instead of meat or fish in a dish.
Today's featured recipes: Meat-free Oppor-TUNA-ties
Featured Wildlife: Bluefin Tuna
Bluefin tuna are the Ferraris of the ocean: They travel at speeds up to 43 miles per hour, retract their fins into special slits to reduce drag and often 6-10 feet long and weigh 500 to 1,500 pounds (26,27). Unfortunately, because of a human taste for bluefin tuna sushi, these fish fetch prices that rival even the most luxurious sports cars. In 2013 a single bluefin tuna sold for $1.7 million in a Japanese fish market (28). While a global issue, the United States is primarily responsible for the decline of the western Atlantic bluefin tuna, which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico and is fished mostly by U.S. fishermen (28).
Due to politically arranged fishing quotas that allow for overfishing far above scientifically recommended levels, bluefin tuna may soon completely disappear from the ocean (28). A 2013 scientific report concluded that their population had declined by an estimated 96.4 percent from unfished levels (28). The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster of 2010 flooded the tuna’s essential breeding habitat with millions of gallons of oil, and the effects of the spill will persist in this area and threaten many species for years to come (28). Despite the critical condition of bluefin tuna populations, in 2011, the Fisheries Service announced it would designate the Atlantic bluefin tuna as a “species of concern” but not give it any additional protection under the Endangered Species Act (28).
- Commercial and recreational fishing
- Water pollution
Key Threat From Meat Production: Overfishing: Oceans in Peril
“There are plenty of fish in the sea” may be popular dating advice, but when it comes to our oceans, the saying isn’t as true as people may think. When we talk about meat consumption and its impact on wildlife, we need to remember that we’re talking about seafood too.
When you look out on a vast expanse of open water, it’s hard to imagine that humans could destroy something so massive or deplete it of such an abundance of life. However, humans have done just that: unsustainable fishing, ocean acidification, climate change and pollution are driving many ocean species toward extinction. Although ocean waters cover nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, marine industry is poorly regulated and policed, allowing for massive exploitation by commercial fisheries (34). These fisheries remove life from the sea at unprecedented rates, including millions of tons of discarded “bycatch” every year (35).
Bycatch is the sea life that’s unintentionally captured by fisheries and not sent to a market for consumption; it’s an inevitable consequence of fisheries that trail mile-long nets through the ocean, indiscriminately sweeping in all forms of ocean life, and 60-mile-long baited fishing lines that attract a range of marine animals and birds (35). Tragically, every year that discarded bycatch includes thousands of severely injured or slain sea turtles, shark and fish species, whales, dolphins, sea lions and seabirds. Even federally protected loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles are not spared, with tens of thousands caught and drowned by fishing gear every year (35). Furthermore, fisheries disrupt the food chain by removing large numbers of specific species, degrade water quality and destroy crucial habitat.
Oceans and the life they sustain are being overwhelmed by the combination of animal agriculture and commercial fishing as surely as your typical undergrad is overwhelmed by exam week. Except there’s one big difference: While exam weeks are made bearable by the thought that soon they’ll be over, sea life has no such light at the end of the tunnel. The assault against oceans is constant, and as you would expect, it’s taking a huge toll on the wellbeing of marine creatures.