When I go into a kaiten (conveyor) sushi shop I always limit my consumption of tuna to a couple of small cuts, not because I don’t like it, but because I personally think the Japanese are fishing the tuna to extinction. Tuna breeding has been started by the Japanese to replace tuna taken from the ocean. The Japanese have a love relationship with tuna (maguro) with some estimates suggesting 90% of the Bluefin harvest will end up in Japan. The consequences of tuna-loving Japanese is I think, they are eating tuna into extinction. The problem with farming Bluefin tuna is that they don’t breed in captivity, but Japan has recently announced a “breakthrough”. Researchers at Toyota Tsusho, and Kinki University (Kinki University changed its name to Kindai University because of the funny sounding name in English.) have found the right combination of water salinity, water temperature and sunlight to stimulate the tuna into breeding in captivity.
A new hatchling center has been established in Nagasaki Prefecture to handle the entire tuna farming process, from artificial incubation to breeding. International pressure will force the Japanese to farm increasing numbers of tuna to feed their tuna-loving population. The facility opened in May, 2015 with the goal of producing 300,000 tuna fry annually in about 3 years. That is roughly 10 percent of the quantity consumed in Japan. At the Tsukiji market in Tokyo, one tuna regularly sells for $100,000 or more because they are becoming rare. Just like the American buffalo that was almost hunted to extinction, hopefully the Japanese will recognize they can’t continue “loving tuna to death.”