How will you feel when there is no more bluefin tuna sushi? No maguro. No toro. While I tend to rant a bit when it comes to the issue of over harvesting bluefin tuna, I will try to take a step off my pedestal for this entry, but I would really like to hear what others have to say if the situation gets to the point where there is no more bluefin tuna commercially viable. It is a very real possibility in the not too distant future.
Many restaurants serve big eye tuna, yellowfin, or other species rather than bluefin tuna, even when a person may think they are ordering bluefin. While they don’t imply they are serving bluefin and to purposefully bait and switch, nevertheless, very often you are not being served bluefin when you order a tuna roll. This makes me wonder. If no one is particularly conscious of what they are eating, and they see plenty of “tuna,” it may not be on people’s minds that real maguro and toro may disappear. As long as you still receive what you are expecting based on historical precedence, nothing needs to change.
So perhaps it will make no difference when the bluefin tuna disappears from the oceans. Diners will keep ordering tuna, without knowing what species they are eating. No one will be the wiser. I don’t mean this in any pejorative way, either, while the loss of a species is a tragedy, for all intents and purposes, it may not affect the sushi world in any real way.
How do other sushi diners feel about this? I certainly eat tuna, and when I can, avoid bluefin. But There are still plenty of fish in the sea (and the aqua farms), so to speak. Is the loss of bluefin a concern for you? Will you miss real toro? Would you back a forced sustainability program to keep the real fish on the plate? Do tell.