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Sustainable Farming Could Help Bluefin Tuna Populations Rally While Satisfying Sushi Lovers

The most popular fish that we eat are often the ones that get overwhelmingly overfished around the world. Such is the case for the bluefin tuna, whose fatty pink flesh has made it a prized gem for sushi and sashimi lovers. So coveted, in fact, that single bluefin tuna have sold for millions of dollars in Japan.

As a result of its popularity and demand, the bluefin population is now at a dangerously low amount that it may never recover from. However, $800 million worth of it is still consumed annually, further putting the entire species at risk of extinction.


Photo: Marc Kharrat//Foodbeast

One might think that farming is a potential solution to help the bluefin tuna, but unsustainable management and environmental concerns from fish waste have produced more problems than solutions in that regard. However, Tokyo trading giant Mitsui & Co. (Mitsui) is looking to rectify that issue. They’ve developed a new form of sustainable tuna farming that could satisfy sushi lovers while letting populations in the wild recover without a massive environmental strain.


Photo courtesy of Mitsui & Co.

To discover this process for ourselves, the FOODBEAST team followed a single fish raised by Mitsui from birth to sashimi. From a laboratory and farm in Southern Japan to a California sushi restaurant, we were able to see how the fish was raised, treated, fed, cared for, slaughtered, broken down, and served.

It’s an eye-opening process that shows just how much TLC goes into raising each tuna, and you can view it in its entirety in the above mini-doc.


Photo: Marc Kharrat//Foodbeast

With Mitsui supplying the tuna to restaurants around the world and New York-based seafood distributor Mark Foods, Inc. supplying the tuna in the U.S., this new sustainable practice could help change the future of tuna farming as we know it, and may one day help get tuna off of the endangered seafood list. It’ll definitely help us eat this sustainable tuna with the conscience that we’re helping save their wild populations by doing so.


Created in partnership with Mitsui & Co


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