Mr. Cutlets Bids Bluefin Farewell Because it’s Endangered. And Boring.


Josh Ozersky’s Time column this week documents what may very well be his last bite of bluefin tuna: “It was awesome. But I have to stop eating it. And so do you,” writes the unrepentant carnivore. Ozersky goes on to cite the numbers many of us have heard repeatedly (60 percent drop in population, 30 years for a fish to reach full size), especially lately since a ban on trade of the coveted species was rejected at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Quoth the author:

“The Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is a big fish, weighing up to 1,000 lb (450 kg). It’s been around for more than 400 million years, which means it is older than the trees, older than the Himalayas, older than the Atlantic Ocean itself. The species isn’t cute… But it tastes really, really good, and it’s on the verge of becoming extinct.”

But he makes another, less pervasive point about bluefin: it’s boring.

While Eric Ripert won’t serve the fish at Le Bernardin for ethical reasons, other chefs just find it humdrum. Instead, why not try albacore sashimi, suggests Ozersky, which he finds:

“incredible — rich, silky, firm and, better still, something I hadn’t already eaten 10,000 times… That still might not be enough to save the tuna, any more than driving a Prius will halt global warming while coal-fired factories run night and day in Chongqing. But it might be enough to make serving wild bluefin seem uncool, wasteful and uncreative. Which it is.”

Now that’s something to chew over.

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