Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rant: Another Controversial Blacklisted Seafood Dinner?

It appears that a local seafood restaurant may soon return to old tricks, ready to stir up a hornet's nest of controversy with another blacklisted seafood dinner. But this dinner is sure to raise far more outcry than the previous one. There will certainly be loud cries of outrage, as well as renewed calls for boycotts, and National Geographic may be partially responsible for this matter.

Though the blacklisted dinner has not yet been confirmed, their public relations team has been reaching out tentative feelers to try to gauge the potential impact of the dinner. For the last such dinner, they simply jumped in with both both feet, not predicting how much grief they would receive. I think it is quite obvious though that this new dinner idea could have drastic ramifications. In fact, I will be very surprised if the dinner ever actually occurs.

This time, the blacklisted is supposed to highlight "sustainable Bluefin Tuna." Once again, the restaurant will challenge the current scientific research, alleging that their assessments use outdated science and that Bluefin Tuna, in specific regions, are plentiful enough for sustainable fishing. That is certainly a controversial claim, sure to be countered by many sustainability proponents.

Here is a copy of the proposed menu (which is subject to change):

Hor d'Ouevres
Otoro Nigiri (with pickled ginger & real grated wasabi)
Spicy Tuna Maki (with cucumber and roe)
Paired with NV Gruet Blanc de Noirs, New Mexico

First Course
Tuna Tartare (with avocado, japalenos and shiso)
Paired with 2010 Prieure de Montezargues Tavel Rosé, France

Second Course
Seared Bluefin Tuna (with a teriyaki & garlic dipping sauce)
Paired with 2009 Erath Pinot Noir, Oregon

Cheese Course
Local Baby Swiss, Manchego, & Meunster with peach compote & buttery toast points

The issue over the consumption of Bluefin Tuna is very controversial, as many consider it to be extremely endangered, yet far too many governmental bodies and international committees, like ICCAT, permit certain quotas of Bluefin. The Japanese consume the greatest percentage of Bluefin, estimates ranging as high as 80%, and it seems that when Bluefin consumption decreases in the U.S., then consumption in Japan only rises. The new National Geographic show, Wicked Tuna, has raised the ire of some, as it appears to glorify Bluefin tuna fishing.

What scientific evidence can this restaurant present which will assuage proponents of seafood sustainability? Part of the problem will surely be that as soon as this dinner is officially announced, there will be a vast outrage, before any discussions can occur. It is an issue that has a strong emotional content, which may blind some to any contrary position. It will garner the restaurant plenty of publicity, but much of that will be negative? So is it really worth the effort to them? I doubt the restaurant will go through with it, but I will be watching this issue very closely.

What are your thoughts on this potential blacklisted dinner?

1 comment:

Nubian said...

Hubs is a Marine Biologist and you will probably guess what his response would be. Great blog post, I will be watching now as well.