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Saving Tuna

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, September 15, 2006

I have a pal in the industry who has built an incredible company from scratch. He is young, ambitious, smart and will be a force in this business in years to come. He also has a very refined palate. We go to lunch a couple of times a week and he asks the sushi place we often go to if they have bluefin tuna, which they often don’t.

Now I know why. It turns out that both the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental group, and the OPP51, the traditional tuna trappers’ association in Spain, have joined forces to implore the European Union to ban commercial fishing during the breeding season.

The WWF explains:

“There is almost no more bluefin tuna to be fished in some of the oldest fishing grounds, especially in West Mediterranean.”

This is the problem with socialism. When something belongs to everyone, such as the fish in the sea, nobody has an incentive to act to avoid over-fishing. Thus the fisherman loses an industry and my buddy a gastronomic delight.

But all is not lost. The International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, known as ICCAT, meets in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in November. WWF and OPP51 are both pushing for the European Union to demand stricter protection of bluefin tuna. You can send them an e-mail requesting action right here.

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