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June 24 2010 Charles Clover
By Charles Clover
Slow as ever to report what other people have been reporting for years, especially on the environmental front, the New York Times magazine has nevertheless printed a rather magnificent piece about the latest clashes over the bluefin in the Mediterranean, entitled Tuna's End (see below). It draws together all the reasons why, as I have said before, the bluefin is the iconic species and this is the life-or-death marine battle of the decade, in the way the battle in the 1970s and 1980s was for the great whales.
A shame that the author didn't seem to know that it was the book and film of The End of the Line that first pointed out the irony that it was the celebrity clientele of the Nobu restaurant chain that was foremost in helping to wipe out these beautiful, now endangered fish. It is a shame, too, that the New York Times has yet to expose those Manhattan restaurants on its own doorstep that have been so prominent in helping the extinction of the lions, tigers and rhinos of the sea. It paid not the blindest bit of notice when Fish2fork exposed some of them in its online restaurant guide. But, if this is the kind of beautifully-written coverage they come up with when they finally do notice something is happening, maybe there is hope for the NYT yet.
Tuna’s End - New York Times Magazine: What was in the water that day was a congregation of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a fish that when prepared as sushi is one of the most valuable forms of seafood in the world. It’s also a fish that regularly journeys between America and Europe and whose two populations, or “stocks,” have both been catastrophically overexploited. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one of only two known Atlantic bluefin spawning grounds, has only intensified the crisis....Tuna then are both a real thing and a metaphor. Literally they are one of the last big public supplies of wild fish left in the world. Metaphorically they are the terminus of an idea: that the ocean is an endless resource where new fish can always be found. In the years to come we can treat tuna as a mile marker to zoom past on our way toward annihilating the wild ocean or as a stop sign that compels us to turn back and radically reconsider....
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