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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Business Note

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on a certain white fish you won’t be seeing anytime soon on some Bay Area menus.


CURWOOD: Just ahead "Buffalo for the Broken Heart," a new book from author Dan O'Brien. First, this environmental Business Note from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: Take a pass on the Chilean sea bass, is the new motto for some Bay area restaurants these days. Trendy eateries like Chez Panisse and The French Laundry are bumping the popular white fish from their menus, to try to save it from extinction. Chilean sea bass is what's known as white gold in the fishing industry, and has been making a splash on American menus for the past ten years. But, due to increasing consumer demand, the tasty fish have been overfished. Under the Antarctic Treaty System fishers are allowed to catch up to 19,000 tons of Chilean sea bass each year. But pirate fishers have illegally caught and sold more than 49,000 tons a year, since 1997. That's about two-and-a-half times the legal limits. To complicate matters further, the bass, also known as Patagonian toothfish, takes as long as ten years to reach reproductive age, which makes it even harder for the species to keep up with the fishing industry. Scientists now predict that the fish will be completely depleted in the next two years. So far, 65 San Francisco restaurants have pledged to keep Chilean sea bass off the menu for the next five years, when, hopefully, its numbers bounce back. That's this week's Business Note. I'm Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Anouar Brahem Trio, "Astrakan Cafe (2)", ASTRAKAN CAFE (ECM - 2000)]



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