Is Sushi off the menu?

Cartoon posted by Hannah Grace at

So, I was eating sustainably raised bison meat with friends at Ted’s Montana Grill recently. This group often collects prizes from wait staff for offering the most esoteric table conversation of the day. We’d already covered whether or not Twitter really is the Borg, Glenn Beck’s Batman review, and how far state arts institutions can go with presenting subversive programming.

But now, we were back on food systems. “We all know there’s little hope left for this country or for humanity,” said one friend.

The guys in the group razzed him and said, “Aw, that’s just your wife talking.”

“Yeah,” bemoaned another. “Now, we can’t even eat sushi any more.”

“I agree with her on that. It’s bad for the oceans,” I said. “We can each eat what we want, but for us ocean advocates, sushi’s off the menu.”

Our friend, Steve replied, “Everything in moderation. Sushi is fine so long as you avoid the kind that contains Blue Fin Tuna or other endangered species, right?”

I wasn’t sure that I had the precise answer. I told him that the sushi industry is driving much of the overfishing in the oceans and that some contents are caught via huge trawling nets that destroy enormous reefs and much of the life surrounding them. I said that it was more a matter of disrupting an entire eco-system rather than only avoiding consuming endangered species.

So again, for me personally, sushi is off the menu. But I didn’t feel wholly confident in my answers to Steve, who has a particular talent for examining all sides of an issue.

Like with recycling, we still have much uncertainty about what we can do to truly help & truly understand ocean issues vs. simply assuage our inner do-gooder. So, later, I searched Google for infographics on over-fishing and sushi. Fortunately, there are many available (I also urge you to watch the doc film End of the Line).

The infographic below is from an entire school curriculum on the topic:

Maybe this will help better prepare you for dinner conversation and positive global change than I was the other night:

In my next installment: Hooray! We can eat *some* sushi! We just need to know if it’s sustainable . . .

This entry was published on July 26, 2012 at 1:13 am and is filed under Ocean Conservation. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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