For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Catherine Kilduff, (415) 644-8580

Boycott Launched to Save Imperiled Bluefin Tuna

Consumers, Chefs, Restaurant Owners Urged to Avoid Buying or Serving Critically Endangered Species Suffering From Overfishing, Oil Spill

SAN FRANCISCO - The Center for Biological Diversity today called on consumers, chefs
and restaurateurs to boycott bluefin tuna, a staple at some sushi
restaurants and one of the most imperiled fish on the planet. The
boycott comes on the heels of the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tuna’s refusal Saturday to halt overfishing
and take measures to take bluefin off its current path toward

“Bluefin tuna are teetering on the brink of extinction.
If regulators won’t protect these magnificent fish, it’s up to
consumers and restaurants to eliminate the market demand, and that
means refusing to eat, buy or serve this species,” said Catherine
Kilduff, a staff attorney for the Center, which petitioned for
Endangered Species Act protection for the Atlantic bluefin tuna earlier
this year.

The boycott launched today calls on consumers in the
United States and around the world to stop eating bluefin tuna
sushi. The boycott covers restaurants in the United States that
advertised bluefin tuna on their online menus as of last week,
including Nobu in New York City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles; Sushitaro
in Washington, D.C.; and Kabuto Sushi in San Francisco.

“The desperate plight of bluefin tuna has been
well-known for years and, while some restaurants have rightly removed
it from their menus, others continue to serve it. That has to stop if
we’re going to keep this fish from slipping into oblivion,” Kilduff

Bluefin tuna are a remarkable ocean species capable of
growing up to 10 feet long, swimming at speeds up to 50 mph and
crossing an entire ocean in just weeks. Unfortunately, the sushi market
keeps prices for tuna high – a single bluefin tuna sold for $177,000
in 2010 – and encourages illegal and unreported fishing.

Atlantic bluefin tuna have declined by more than 80
percent since 1970 due to overfishing. They suffered another blow in
2010 when the Gulf of Mexico oil spill fouled bluefin spawning habitat.
Scientists estimate that 20 percent of juvenile bluefin in the area
were killed.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature
already lists two species of bluefin, the Atlantic and the Southern, as
endangered. The Pacific bluefin tuna is not yet listed but the National
Marine Fisheries Service says the population is subject to
overfishing. The Fisheries Service is still considering the Center’s
request to protect Atlantic bluefin under the Endangered Species Act.

Today’s boycott calls on consumers to sign a pledge not to eat bluefin or spend money at restaurants that serve it. It also urges chefs and restaurateurs to sign a pledge not to buy bluefin tuna or serve it at their establishments.

“There’s a direct connection between consumer demand and
the extinction crisis that the bluefin tuna faces today – and it’s
time that connection be broken,” Kilduff said.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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