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How Tuna Is “Farmed”

The following is from a series of articles about the oceans prepared by The Economist magazine 

“Perhaps the most grotesque form of fish farming is the ranching of bluefin tuna, a delicacy that may sell for as much as $860 a kilo. Bluefins are sensitive creatures that hate being cooped up so much that, if confined, they tend to throw themselves against their cages and break their necks. Australian “ranchers” have now adopted a technique that involves catching young bluefins, enveloping them in a huge net and dragging it slowly round the south seas for months while feeding them pilchards imported from west Africa.”

I eat tuna and I don’t ask many questions about how it reaches my plate. But is this how we want to proceed? We’ve overfished the seas and now this is how we are getting our fish to eat. How can this be sustainable? We’re seeing in our economy what happens when we proceed in a way that is not sustainable. How many times do we need to learn (or not learn) the same lessons?     

Here is information about the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. (above)

Here is information about various types of seafood and to what extent they are overfished.

Here is information about overfishing in the United States from Mother Jones magazine.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seafood Industry Should Stress Upside Of Mercury

The New York Times reports that relatively small amounts of bluefin tuna sushi consumption can leave you with a lot of mercury in your body. The same may well apply to other types of sushi as well.

All we ever hear about are the downsides of mercury.

What about the basic fairness of hearing about what is good and positive about mercury?

The seafood industry needs to fight back.  ( Don’t worry though–They are fighting back. And yes, if you look at the web page, you’ll find that pregnant women should indeed eat fish. Here is the list of groups that say it is okay. )

Here is a little bit about mercury from the  excellent Nature’s Building Blocks–An A-Z Guide To The Elements by John Emsley—(Just one more book in The Texas Liberal library.)

Mercury has no biological role even though it is present in every living thing. It is widespread because it is present in the atmosphere due to it’s volatility, both as the metal and as the organomercury compounds which are formed by micro-organisms.

Mercury is perfectly natural.

Mercury poisoning was once relatively common but is now rare hanks to…health ands safety regulations and the phasing out of many of it’s uses. All mercury compounds are toxic…(it) can pass the blood-brain barrier and move across the placenta, with the result that mercury affects the central nervous system and cause fetal deformities.

Notice use of the word “can.” Mercury CAN cause fetal deformities. It’s not a given. Simply enjoy your sushi responsibly and as a matter of personal choice.

…When syphilis became a problem in Europe in the fifteenth-century, the only known cure was (mercury)…intense salivation was known as a side-effect…the “cure” as it was known was risky and almost as feared as the disease itself.

Mercury cures syphilis.

The phrase “mad as a hatter” owes its derivation to the use of mercury in the hat industry, and described the behavior of those whose job it was to turn beaver and rabbit fur into felt, the raw material from which hats used to be made. In order to get the short hairs of this type of fur to mat together, the pelts were dipped in a solution of mercury nitrate and then dried. Workers in the industry often suffered from “hatter’s shakes” and “mercury madness”

Mercury created jobs until the do-gooders came along.

Some mercury is still used to treat seed corn to make it resistant to fungal disease…By the 1960’s the practice had become widespread…Sadly this form of crop protection led to several mass-poisonings in developing countries.

Mercury was quite helpful up until the villagers made the choice to eat the corn. They just did not know when to stop. Today’s well-educated urban sushi consumers know when to stop, and they also know that for people like themselves there are no limits in this world.

Here is a list of ecologically sound fish to eat and depleted species to avoid eating. It comes from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

Below is a drawing of a bluefin tuna.

Here are facts about this fish.

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Here is information about overfishing of these creatures

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Books, Sea Life | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments