I don’t usually do controversy; I’ve got enough problems I didn’t bring on my head to go out of my way to find more. But I did just get this press release from Plants & Animals Denver that’s worth reprinting in its entirety.

As a sometimes “reckless” carnivore myself, as well as a happy customer of Sushi Den, I’m still not unsympathetic to the group’s narrow message—it’s time to stop eating bluefin tuna (see also Seafood Watch). That message is reinforced by a comment on the website that isn’t in the below e-mail: “We are not aiming to put Sushi Den out of business. We would like them to take bluefin off their menu, but we are not trying to stop anybody from eating there.”

Without taking sides on the wider pro-vegan message, I’m just here to note that this little food fight is taking place a week from tonight. I have no intention of getting involved, unless Johnny Knoxville & Bam Margera show up.

VEGAN ACTIVISTS TO PROTEST SALE OF ENDANGERED SPECIES AT POPULAR DENVER SUSHI BAR

Critically Threatened Bluefin Tuna Still on the Menu in Colorado

5PM-8PM, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010
SUSHI DEN
1487 SOUTH PEARL STREET, DENVER, CO 80210

DENVER- Animal activists will lead a demonstration Friday to raise awareness about bluefin tuna, an endangered species which is still served as sushi at a handful of Denver restaurants. With signs and sustainable seafood guides in hand, vegan advocates from the nonprofit Plants & Animals Denver will gather at Sushi Den at 5pm for a 3-hour protest of reckless eating.

Known to aficionados as “toro” or “hon maguro,” the fatty belly meat of bluefin tuna is considered to be among the most delectable sushi options. This tastiness, however, may be the species’ downfall. Decades of overfishing, toothless regulatory quotas, black markets, and a seemingly insatiable Japanese appetite for toro have brought bluefin to the brink. With its population estimated to be 15 percent of its pre-1960 level, the World Wildlife Fund lists bluefin tuna on its top ten list of threatened species for 2010. Recent failures of the U.N. CITES conference and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or Iccat, to take any meaningful protective measure in favor of bluefin have left environmentalists and Denver animal advocates frustrated.

“At $100,000 per fish, you can understand why fishing fleets have gone to such lengths to catch and ranch these ocean titans,” says Dylon Smith of Plants & Animals Denver, a grassroots nonprofit that advocates plant-based eating as a solution to this and many other environmental and social problems. “But at some point, consumers have to realize that their support of this industry is causing real harm to our oceans.”

Friday’s demonstration will be a new step in P&A’s campaign to make Denver a bluefin-free city. According to Smith, “letter-writing, business outreach, and weekly leafleting sessions have brought minimal response from sushi bar managers, so we are reaching a new phase of our campaign, which includes this demo and a free screening of The End of the Line on December 9th.” For more information visit www.plantsanimals.org.