It’s probably impossible to think about the impending extinction of bluefin tuna without becoming rampantly misanthropic. And the closer you look, the worse it gets:
[Richard Ellis, author of Tuna: A Love Story, says:] “People believe in their hearts that a piece of raw fish is worth $600. And one of the main reasons that it’s worth $600 is because you can’t afford it and I can’t, but they can. That makes it very special, and it makes people who eat it special.
“Any kind of luxury goods largely come from that sort of statement: I can afford it, and you can’t. I’ll drive a Maserati, even if I can’t drive it faster than 65 miles per hour in most of the United States. I can afford a $280,000 car, and you’re stuck with a Dodge Neon. I can fly private jet, drive a Maserati, do anything I bloody well please, including having a $600 piece of fish. And you can’t.”
And this is the brutal truth: bluefin, which beyond their intrinsic value as living creatures happen to be one of the universe’s more majestic species, a Platonic ideal of oceanic speed and grace, aren’t being extinguished by our greed. They’re being sacrificed to our vanity, pretension, and ostentation — the most pathetic of our vices.