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Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Fewer Japanese Eating Seafood

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s Wall Street Journal told an interesting story about Japanese people that surprised me:

they are eating less and less seafood.

Though it has nothing to do with preserving ocean biodiversity, common sense, or ethics, I can’t help but be happy about this. The recent failure by UN nations to ban the trade of bluefin tuna at CITES (thanks almost exclusively to the shady lobbying efforts of Japan’s delegates) had me feeling that things were looking worse than ever for our invisible underwater friends. The fact that Japanese tastes are changing gives me hope. Of course there is a down side…

Young Japanese are turning away from fish increasingly because they are getting hooked to a salty, beefy western diet of hamburgers and chicken. Housewives are turning to these meats because they are easier to cook. In response, the fish industry in Japan is desperately trying to woo people back to fish flesh.

Read the WSJ article and watch the related video here.

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CITES trying to save Tuna

March 12, 2010 Leave a comment

NPR reported on the planned proposal to ban the trade of bluefin tuna in this year’s meeting to determine the new CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Bluefin populations are estimated to be 10-15% of what they once were. Japan has said they will ignore the ban, should it be passed.

Also on the CITES table is a possible one-time legal ivory sale.

Click here for the story

Bycatch

March 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The average shrimp-trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures overboard, dead or dying, as bycatch.

So, with trawled shrimp from Indonesia, for example, the label might read: 26 POUNDS OF OTHER SEA ANIMALS WERE KILLED AND TOSSED BACK INTO THE OCEAN FOR EVERY 1 POUND OF THIS SHRIMP.

Jonathan Safran Foer, from page 49 of Eating Animals

Ban Japan

February 25, 2010 2 comments

Big Fish. AP photo

That’s it. I’ve had it up to here with Japan. And I’m going to do something about it. I have decided to stop buying Japanese products of any sort until their government decides to stop whaling, respect conservationist fishing guidelines, and show some respect to the international community who are getting increasingly fed up with their arrogance.

This may sound misguided and possibly xenophobic, but it seems rational to me. As long as this country’s government decides to openly reject pleas from other countries to stop treating our oceans and seas like their own god-given playground, I will avoid their national products like the plague. Luckily, I’m not into anime and I don’t play video games anymore. But this means I will probably never buy a Toyota again (I currently own a ’94 Corolla), and it has nothing to do with unintended acceleration. No more cell phones made in Japan; luckily Blackberry (Canada), Samsung (Korea), Nokia (Finland), and several others are still game. Let’s see, what else to avoid… Here’s a list:

Nintendo, Honda, Sony, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujifilm, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, A Bathing Ape, Bridgestone, Canon, Capcom, Isuzu, Kenwood, Kyocera, Konami, Mazda, Nissan, Olympus, Sanrio, Sega, Seiko, Shimano, Square Enix, Subaru, Suzuki, TDK, Toshiba, Yamaha

Some of those might hurt someday, but mostly I think I can easily live without those companies. This also means I may have to give up on a lifelong dream of someday visiting Tokyo, and possibly some things I have not thought about yet. But just like going vegan, this feels right.

I know, these companies have nothing to do with whaling, overfishing, capturing dolphins for captivity or slaughter, or any of that (other than making the fishing equipment perhaps), so why punish them? Hear me out. This is something I can do. I can consciously avoid Japanese products, and be vocal about it, as a way to economically punish a sophisticated modern nation which has repeatedly shown itself to be arrogant and completely disrespectful of non-human life. Every time a new story pops up about Japan accusing Sea Shepherd of endangering their poor “scientist” whalers, or Japan says they will ignore a ban on the Bluefin tuna trade, or Japan says that we Westerners are threatening their culture and way of life, I see how they just do not give a shit. Not only that, it seems they think the rest of the world are a bunch of idiots. If you saw The Cove, you may remember footage of Japan’s delegate to the International Whaling Commission telling the other delegates about how whales are supposedly depleting fish stocks (it couldn’t be humans!), and how they have reduced the “time-to-death” in their “scientific” whaling “research” (according to them). He says these ridiculous things with a straight face to people who understand and oppose whaling. It’s a slap in the face.

So. I don’t feel I am being xenophobic in declaring that I will not buy Japanese products. I feel the Japanese are the villains in all of this. They see their cultural values as being above everybody else’s, and seem willing to stick to those values at the risk of fishing endangered species to extinction, brutally killing as many majestic whales as possible, and pissing off conservationists. Their approach to foreign policy in regards to these matters is basically: “Screw you. I do what I want.”

So, other than going vegan and saying no to Japanese products, what can you do to try to get Japan to take it down a notch? I would recommend:

  • Do not visit Sea World or aquariums that keep dolphins or whales in captivity. Most captive dolphins are caught on the shores of Japan, and by supporting that captivity you would be justifying the horrific dolphin slaughter in Taiji. If you love ocean life, do not support their capture and exploitation. I believe aquariums also perpetuate the widespread delusion that animals are below us, and that we have the right to exploit them however we want.
  • Support the Sea Shepherd Conservationist Society. They are on the front lines of the war against Japanese whaling. Maybe their tactics seem juvenile and ineffective at times, but they are bringing this issue to light, and risking their lives to spare every whale life they can.
  • Put this widget on your Facebook and write a letter. See The Cove. Support filmmaking that exposes those who try to hide.
  • Tell your friends about overfishing and how Bluefin tuna may soon be added to the endangered species list. *Whaa-whaaaa…. Debbie Downer*- I know, but people gotta learn somehow.

Op-Ed by a Yellowfin Tuna (The Onion)

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been swimming for quite some time now, and I gotta tell you, I’ve seen a lot of shit in my day. I’ve seen orcas eat defenseless cod, jellyfish prey on plankton, and powerless krill get devoured by whales 20,000 times their size. Sometimes it seems like an unfair world, but in the end, it makes sense. There’s a natural order to things. There’s balance. So you can imagine how shocked and disturbed I was last week when I bit into what I thought was a nice, succulent squid only to have half my mouth ripped off by a giant fucking metal hook.

Yeah, that’s right. At this time last Thursday, I had a 5-inch barbed hook going directly through my face and pectoral fin. Straight fucking through—no joke. I’m not making this up. This actually happened to me.

Read the rest of this editorial at The Onion…

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The End of The Line Trailer

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Trailer for the documentary on overfishing, The End of the Line (based on the book by Charles Clover)I didn’t even realize this was made into a film. Probably because it is was primarily released in the UK. Check out the trailer and hope we can get it on some more screens in the US.

endoftheline.com

Where Does Fish Oil Come From?

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Answer: Menhaden (the lil guy you see above). Paul Greenberg, author of the upcoming book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, clarified this for us in his informative op-ed for the NY Times.

I had never heard of menhaden before, but apparently they are a vital part of many ocean ecosystems, and they are the primary source for omega-3 fish oil supplements. In the North American market, 90% of the menhaden caught are done so for a company called Omega Protein (in Houston).

Today, hundreds of billions of pounds of them are converted into lipstick, salmon feed, paint, “buttery spread,” salad dressing and, yes, some of those omega-3 supplements you have been forcing on your children. All of these products can be made with more environmentally benign substitutes, but menhaden are still used in great (though declining) numbers because they can be caught and processed cheaply.

Why should we care?

Quite simply, menhaden keep the water clean. The muddy brown color of the Long Island Sound and the growing dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay are the direct result of inadequate water filtration — a job that was once carried out by menhaden. An adult menhaden can rid four to six gallons of water of algae in a minute. Imagine then the water-cleaning capacity of the half-billion menhaden we “reduce” into oil every year.

That, and the fact that most fish (that eat other fish) eat menahaden, including bluefin tuna, striped bass, redfish and bluefish.

So how should we get omega-3’s? How about walnuts, flaxseed (or flax oil), or my new favorite, hemp milk?