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 sustainable sushi 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!
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.”
- Remember: the Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood event has been extended to enable sushi lovers to take the Seafood Watch Sushi Advocate Pledge and share their story with us, too.
My thanks to Elaine Iandoli and Kate McLaughlin of Blue Ocean Institute for the invitation – this was a tremendous opportunity to learn and share.