The Tuna on Your Plate May Be Endangered

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2009 4:27 PM CST
The Tuna on Your Plate May Be Endangered
Greenpeace demonstrators protest with five tons of tuna heads unloaded outside the Agriculture ministry in Paris.   (AP Photo)

You might suspect a sushi restaurant that doesn’t specify what sort of tuna you’re eating of trying to pawn off an inferior species. Not so. Researchers using novel DNA barcoding technology found that though nearly a third of tuna sold in 31 US restaurants was the prized—and endangered—bluefin. But just 8 of the 22 bluefin samples were accurately labeled.

“When you eat sushi, you can unknowingly get a critically endangered species on your plate,” a researcher tells LiveScience. All of the restaurants in the survey that advertised bluefin did serve it—and charged more than for other, less coveted varieties. So why do some places not even know they’re serving a delicacy? The researcher notes, “the FDA's approved market name for all eight species of Thunnus is simply ‘tuna.’” (More bluefin tuna stories.)

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