“Tuna cannot look like skinny Japanese women.”

Blaine Harden – The Washington Post

Copyright The Washington Post
TOKYO —
So says Tsunenori Iida, and he ought to know. His family has been buying and selling tuna for seven generations here at the world’s largest fish market. Six mornings a week for 43 years, Iida has been casting his eyes and running his fingers over the torpedo-shaped carcasses of bluefin tuna, the most precious fish in the sea. They are brought here to Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, where a dawn auction sets the global price.
Japan eats more tuna than any other country in the world, consuming about a quarter of the global catch. As other countries increase their imports of tuna, Japan is making major quota cuts to protect the fish. Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, the largest wholesale fish market in the world, is making major adjustments to cope with the limited supply of tuna. Wholesale prices are on the rise, but restaurants are hesitant to pass the price hikes on to customers.
“I look for beauty and balanced plumpness,” Iida said. “I am looking for a Catherine Zeta-Jones type of tuna.”
Alas for Japan, which wolfs down a quarter of the global tuna catch, and for the rest of the world: An increasingly voracious appetite for sushi is driving the supply of plump pulchritude served raw perilously low.
Japan — after years of overfishing a species that is as much sacrament as food — is feeling the pinch more than any other country.
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