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Old 03-28-2005, 09:51 PM   #1
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Is Sea Bass endangered?

Was at an upscale neo-Japanese restaurant the other night (our local version of New York's Nobu), and was so disappointed that they no longer served their excellent Pan-fried Sea Bass nor their Grilled Sea Bass (these used to come in 3-inch thick slabs). The server explained that they've discontinued Sea Bass because it is endangered. Sea Bass is imported around these parts, the famous one being from Chile.

Now I haven't heard anything about Sea Bass being endangered . Can anyone possibly offer up some explanation? Would appreciate it!

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Old 03-28-2005, 10:54 PM   #2
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Some chefs have gotten together and are now not serving endangered species of fish. The top four are Swordfish, Chilean sea bass, Orange roughy, and Sturgeon caviar.

At the current rate of fishing ... the sea bass could become all but extinct in 5 years.
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Old 03-28-2005, 11:24 PM   #3
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Isn't it only certain types of sea bass that are endangered? I thought I was at some fancy restaurant and they said that they specifically served chilean sea bass because it WAS NOT on the endangered list. I wish I knew which fish are and which are not. I sure wouldn't have eaten if it I knew it was endangered.

Several years back when I watched a PBS special on how they harvest shark fin, I decided then and there not to eat shark fin anymore.
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Old 03-29-2005, 01:33 AM   #4
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I have a site bookmarked named Seafood Watch which has a pretty comprehensive listing of species. It gives great info about them.

This is what I found on Chilean Seabass. It is flagged "red" (meaning avoid purchasing / eating).

Quote:
Chilean Seabass Conservation Notes Chilean seabass, otherwise known as Patagonian toothfish, are found in the coldest oceans near Antarctica. They live at least 40 years and breed late in life. Heavy fishing is depleting their population. "Pirate" fishermen, who obey no fishing limits, are landing up to ten times the legal catch. Law enforcement is difficult in the vast and remote Antarctic oceans; law-abiding fishermen and international managers admit that pirate fishing is out of control. Chilean seabass are caught using either bottom trawls or longlines. Both methods have problems: bottom trawling can damage seafloor habitat, and longlines take a bycatch of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, which get hooked and drowned when they try to snatch bait. Law-abiding longliners follow rules designed to protect birds, but pirate fishermen ignore these rules, and albatross populations are still sinking.
Hope this info helps. Don't feel bad about eating the dinner you chose; just make a different choice next time!


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Old 03-29-2005, 03:38 AM   #5
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Here in the UK, due to the reduction in fish stocks world-wide, much of the bass eaten is 'farmed' in various places, including Greek islands!

We went to a really seafood restaurant in Edinburgh recently. My husband had the bass and complimented the owner on the fish. He was told it was farmed in Greece, and brought to the UK by air.
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Old 03-29-2005, 07:52 AM   #6
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Thanks to all for the information you shared! Most people tend to think that only exotic animals become endangered. (Hmm, I guess they become exotic when they are endangered.) I wish there's a more active campaign out there to inform us about the endangered species in our diet before it's all too late!
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Old 03-29-2005, 09:59 AM   #7
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There wasn't an issue with this breed of bass until it became so popular to consumers. Pirating of anything is never good, all they see are $$$$$$$$$ nothing more. It's a shame.
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:11 AM   #8
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I don't think that chilean seabass are in the bass family. They are toothfish with a pretty new name.

And I don't think they are literally on the endangered species list but there are problems with rougue fisherman illegally harvesting huge quantities.

The US allows importation IF if they have been harvested using lawful methods and have documentation to prove it. But there is a problem with illegally imported chilean seabass. Thus, if you buy it, you should always ask for documentation that it has been lawfully caught. I know that they have this posted at my Whole Foods market and at other stores. This makes it pretty darn expensive.

Here's more information fromthe US State Department:

http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/fs/2002/8989.htm
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:00 PM   #9
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There are several sites that I've found that mention that Chilean Sea Bass is being overfished and getting scarce - because it was plentiful and Chefs made it popular, so now that it is popular it is getting overfished.

Here is one site you might find interesting: http://www.endangeredfishalliance.org/whoweare.htm

I hate to think of sharks being harvested just for their fins, and for the skins for shoes and belts! Grilled or broiled with a little salt, pepper, and butter .... it's very tasty - sorta' kinda' like swordfish but firmer.
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