An experiment in conscious living.

Commitment #16

“I will not eat bluefin tuna.”

Since watching Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize acceptance speech in September of last year, big fish have not been a part of my diet. There’s nothing like learning that 90% of the world’s predatory fish have been eaten to put a damper on the appetite for the 10% that remains, even though sashimi, sushi and poke are  among my favorite foods. So when Haku, Kuha`o  and I reinstated “Poke and Poi Fridays” at our Sig Zane Designs office last week, there was a caveat: We had to find poke made from locally-sourced fish or it was only poi for me.

Luckily, Haku went to Suisan where she was able to get poke that, guaranteed, was not made from Atlantic bluefin tuna. Had she shopped at any other local outlet, my luck probably would not have held out. Much of the poke we consume in Hawai`i comes from imported ahi, which may or may not be the endangered Atlantic variety.

If you keep up with the news you’ve probably already heard about the bluefin tuna that fetched a record price at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. It weighed 511 pounds and sold for $175,000 (16.28 million yen). There is no doubt that Japan drives the global market for this species, consuming nearly 80% of the approximate 1.6 million tons caught worldwide each year.

The incredible price suggests a harsh reality, that these fish are rare. Scientists and conservationists alike are calling for a moratorium on fishing bluefin to save the species from extinction. There is undeniable evidence which shows this fish is in danger of becoming extinct. At current fishing rates it is said they will be gone by 2012. Bye-bye sushi. The United Nations is considering a ban on international trade of the prized fish due to the plummeting numbers of the Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks.

If you love sushi, you’re likely contributing to the problem, whether you want to or not. The FDA’s approved market name for all eight species is simply “tuna” and in Hawai`i, “ahi” can be used to describe both yellowfin and bluefin. So, I urge you to make this commitment and not eat any tuna unless you know what kind it is and where it came from.

If you want more detailed information about the plight of our dear bluefin, check out the articles on Scientific American and

Join me in making this lifestyle commitment at Kanu Hawai`i.


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