Forbidden Tuna Still on the Menu

No ban on trade even as both Pacific, Atlantic bluefin populations in decline

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Apr 5, 2010  |  Updated 4:39 PM PDT
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This block of bluefin tuna was found at Yum Yum Fish in San Francisco.

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You don't find much Chilean sea bass on Bay Area menus anymore, after word of that fish's population decline started to get around.

But there is some evidence that the same rule does not hold true for bluefin tuna among the sushi crowd.

The Atlantic population of the giant fish has reportedly decreased by 90 percent.

The Pacific population is also on the brink, and Greenpeace and other protesters have tangled with Japanese fishing vessels out hunting for the prized giant catch.   One fish can still go for six figures at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

International regulators declined to pass a plan backed by the United States that would have banned the trade in the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, with objections coming from Japan and countries surrounding the Mediterranean.

But 7x7's Sara Deseran found that bluefin is still on the menu at Sushi Ran, an upscale sushi restaurant in Sausalito.  It is also on the printed menu at Kabuto's in the City.

It begs the question whether customers and chefs are ignorant of the shortage or just turning a blind eye.

Wonder if the folks behind the sting operation on a Santa Monica restaurant that was serving whale meat are paying attention, or if they only care about cute, cuddly marine mammals.

Jackson West recommends small, oily fish -- rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and lower in mercury.

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