The Sustainable Sushi Trifecta – Blue Ocean Institute Floats Our Boat

My own Sushi Pocket Cards

What do you get when you have a sushi party at the French Culinary Institute and invite leading conservation groups, top research scientists, top sushi chefs from both coasts including the only restaurant chef, throw in the lobster sex guy and some bloggers and writers, too?

You get boatloads of good sushi, fun stories, and an action plan for enjoying sustainable sushi. And pocket cards. Do we have pocket cards!

Pick a Card!

The sustainable sushi trifecta: Blue Ocean Institute, Seafood Watch, and Environmental Defense Fund teamed up in an unprecedented simultaneous launch of their pocket cards for sushi lovers that care.

Now, my Just Hungry friend is perfectly correct that sushi does not equal fish. In fact, this evening I made inarizushi and there was not a fish in sight. Still, in most of the US, sushi lovers heavily favor – and restaurants cater to – fish-centered sushi. Once we gain more knowledge about which species are nearly extinct, this challenges our goals as sushi chefs and aficionados (a-fish-anados?) to serve and to enjoy the most exquisite, rare or supremely fresh specialty seafoods.

I spoke with Tataki Sushi Bar Sushi Chef/Owner Kin Wai Lui about what he’s doing at his wave-breaking restaurant and why. It’s hard to imagine from a traditional standpoint that a sushi chef could decide not to serve some of the favorite items. After realizing that he was part of the problem, he decided to devote himself to becoming part of the solution. More on this story soon. Look for Tataki’s entry in our Teach a Man to Fish event!

The smack of whale’s fin can be heard for miles in the water – but what if no one’s there to hear it? Large numbers of top species are gone. By some estimates only 10% of the blue fin tuna population remains. “For the first time, sushi lovers have tools that enable them to join the growing movement of those making ocean-friendly choices that protect life in the seas now and for generations to come,” said Julie Pareles, executive director of Blue Ocean Institute.

The powerful and majestic blue fin tuna is nearly extinct. Other long-lived top predators have accumulated wastes cast off by careless humans which we will ingest if we continue to eat them, raw or cooked. “These new guides not only enable sushi lovers to choose fish that are caught or farmed responsibly, they also highlight selections that are healthy for them and their families,” said Tim Fitzgerald, marine scientist for Environmental Defense Fund.

After this event, I can now say with confidence that one can consume mass quantities of delicious and varied sushi, sashimi and nigiri, without the nearly-extinct standard items and not miss them.

“The reality is quite simple,” said Sheila Bowman, Seafood Watch outreach manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “If you care about the future of the oceans, you’ll avoid red-listed sushi.”

My thanks to Elaine Iandoli and Kate McLaughlin of Blue Ocean Institute for the invitation – this was a tremendous opportunity to learn and share.

~ by jacqueline1230 on October 22, 2008.

9 Responses to “The Sustainable Sushi Trifecta – Blue Ocean Institute Floats Our Boat”

  1. You are Queen of the Mermaids for being so committed to raising awareness of seafood sustainability across the blogosphere in such a terrific way! Thank you for being so committed–& for writing such great posts about it! And BTW–Teach A Man To Fish has been outlandishly difficult in LA–could not find a nice sustainable piece of seafood for 2 days in our little “coastal” city of LA that didn’t have some problem, whether it was on a particular list, had a monster carbon fin print, or was just gaspingly poor quality—eye opening! Thanks, too, for catching The Haphazard Girls in your net!

  2. Wow wow wow. That is sad and surprising. I have discovered a sustainable (are you sitting down?) tuna product. Wild Planet. It’s delicious and line-caught. I think Whole Paycheck carries it. Wait: here’s the list:
    Kroger’s with Nature’s Market, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Heinen’s, Hiller’s, Coburn’s, Ralphs, lots of stores in the Bay Area and hundreds of natural and specialty independents.

    I think independent fishmongers are the best to use. Are there none out there?

    Thanks for keeping LA honest – or at least trying. It’s Sisyphean endeavour, hm? But you get huge points for style!


  3. wow. those sushi/sashimi shots are straight-up food porn. looks SO yummy.

  4. I was in ecstasy so the comparison is apt.

  5. BEAUTIFUL slide show! The images really capture how it’s possible to have your sushi, and have it be sustainable, too.

  6. BEAUTIFUL slide show! The images really capture how it’s possible to have your sushi, and have it be sustainable, too.

  7. Thanks Carolyn. So great to met Chef Lui a Casson Trenor, too. They’re in for Teach a Man to Fish!

  8. Hey Jacqueline

    Here’s a science project taken on at the previous school where I taught which is related to seafood sustainability. It’s an aquaponics greenhouse where tilapia and butterhead lettuce were grown in a closed system right smack in the middle of a city. And having run that project, I think modern farming methods such as aquaponics are definitely the way to go.

  9. Wow! That’s inspiring. I love seeing kids get involved with food production. Too many grow up with no idea at all does a carrot grow on trees? Where does lettuce grow? Things some of us take for granted many kids here have never seen.

    Also when they are actively involved in growing it, they enjoy eating it. That is a true victory! I had a young girl ask me for wheat bread, that delicious stuff she’d never seen before! We baked it together of course she loved it!

    Thank you for sharing it. I have an enticing tilapia recipe in the wrap up, looking forward to sharing yours! Do your kids cook?

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