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Kahala in Your Sushi May Save Wild Bluefin Tuna: Lewis Lapham

The cover jacket of "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" by Paul Greenberg. Source: Penguin via Bloomberg

Ranging through open oceans around the world, the tuna can reach 14 feet and 1,500 pounds. It’s among the largest, fastest and also tastiest fish, especially cut up into sushi.

The most expensive, the bluefin, which can fetch $150,000 each, is being fished to extinction, despite strenuous conservation efforts.

In the clear waters off the coast of the Hawaiian town of Kailua Kona is one possible solution: A fish farm cultivating a thick-fleshed, sustainable substitute for tuna, the Almaco jack, also known as the kahala.

A distant relative of tuna, though without the reddish hue, kahala are abundant and simple to breed.

Marine biologist Neil Sims, who grows the fish for his company, Kona Blue, says they spawn constantly throughout the year. “We do not use any hormones or environmental manipulation. We tried soft music and candlelight and a little wine, and it worked just as well without,” he notes. “So we kept the wine for ourselves.”

As we eat more seafood every year, rational aquaculture may help save some species from annihilation. I spoke with Paul Greenberg, author of “Four Fish: the Future of the Last Wild Food,” on the following topics:

1. Wild vs. Farmed

2. World War II Technology

3. Commercial Extinction

4. Marine Protected Areas

5. Striped Bass Recovery

To listen to the podcast, click here. To buy this book in North America, click here.

(Lewis Lapham is the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s magazine. He hosts “The World in Time” interview series for Bloomberg News.)

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