Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why is Taste of Hilo featuring Endangered Species?

Editorial Comment: I do not usually use this blog to share controversial ideas or thoughts, but this one is important to me and to our community.

The Taste of Hilo is a fund raising event which benefits the HCC Culinary Arts Program & the Japanese Chamber of Commerce. It is designed to share great food with the people of Hawaii. It is a showcase for many restaurants, food stores and chefs. In concept, it is a really good idea. But there is a bad idea here ... the theme of the event this year is "Blue Fin Tuna". They have been running ads in the newspaper telling people that this event may be the only way that people will be able to taste the Blue Fin which sells for over $100 a pound in Japan. Gee, I wonder why this is the only way they can taste it?
What is bad about that? This popular fish, a staple in sushi restaurants and a the source of the highest grade of sushi and sashimi, known to aficionados as maguro and toro. The fish is also prized in Mediterranean cuisine. Japan is by far the largest consumer, with fleets in Spain, Italy and France. Many of these fish are "ranched", caught, then concentrated in aquatic feedlots where they are fattened up with massive amounts of smaller fish for a few months before sending them to market.

In 2007 Japan said it imported 32,356 metric tons of bluefin and their own vessels brought in another 2,078 metric tons that year. A single healthy sized blue fin adult can easily fetch more than $100,000 in Tokyo's largest fish market.

What is wrong with this picture? We have fantastic sushi grade ahi being caught all around Hawaii, why are we importing this endangered fish to attract foodies to the Taste of Hilo???

You can read more about the endangered Bluefin here:

You would not eat a tiger, why would you eat a blue fin?

Monterey Bay Aquarium

I welcome comments here on this subject


Blake said...

Thanks for the post Devany! We need to use all means available to us to call out things like this.

Tracey said...

The lack of awareness of this subject is still probably pretty widespread and, people are in denial! Thanks for putting the word out there.

RONW said...

I personally wouldn't take offense to "controversial commentary" even when I have disagreed with some authors. After all, we're all adults.

Devany said...

Blake, I somehow had a feeling you would be the first to comment on this post. Tracey and Ron, thanks for your input.

canders said...

Thanks Devany. I was not aware of the status of the blue fin. I am forwarding your post to my daughters who live in Asia. It is my observation that when you live in cultures that have fish as such a center piece, it is easy to lose sight of the unsustainability of the resource utilization (a little like our culture and energy use).