Sushi is a truly wonderful delicacy but when you eat it, you should always seek to guarantee that
you are purchasing from a source that is dedicated to providing sushi dishes that have been acquired from a sustainable source and not of a species that is considered at risk in the world’s oceans such as the blue fin tuna.
I personally love sushi and living in London, there is no shortage of sushi restaurants to pick from but I’m always careful to ensure that the sushi restaurants in London I choose to visit have a sustainable seafood policy that ensures the environmental friendliness of dishes they serve. With this in mind, I feel that I should mention my local sushi restaurant called Feng Sushi because they only sell dishes that have come from sustainably sourced fish. I cannot overstate the importance of eating sustainably sourced fish because many species are becoming perilously close to be wiped out and we are compounding the problem with the over-fishing of the world’s oceans.
There are various sources of sustainable seafood around the world and it is important that more sushi restaurants, and restaurants in general as a matter of fact, need to do all they can to make sure all their fish is obtained from such sources. There really is no excuse for restaurants to continue to serve fish that is dangerously close to becoming extinct – it is difficult to put into words just how irresponsible this is and shouldn’t be condoned. Restaurant goers can help do their part by boycotting restaurants to fail to get on board with sustainable fishing as this fall in business is likely to compel them to see the importance of providing their patrons with sustainable seafood.
One of the best ways of ensuring that the sushi restaurant that you are visiting or ordering food from has a good policy when it comes to sustainability is to check their websites and see what sort of endorsements that they have from the main regulatory bodies in the field of seafood and commercial restaurants. Again, using Feng Sushi as an example, will show that they are endorsed by the major bodies in the UK, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Fish2Fork and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Which Species of Fish are At-Risk?
It is always a good idea to be aware of which species of fish are on the at-risk list as this will help you to make your decisions when choosing a sushi restaurant to eat at. The list below shows some of the species that you must avoid as their levels are dangerously low and rapidly becoming unsustainable (both the Japanese and English spelling are included as this will make it easier to spot in a sushi restaurant):
Hamachi/Hiramasa/Yellowtail (imported, farmed)
Hirame/Flounders, Halibut, Soles (US Atlantic, except Summer Flounder)
Hon Maguro/Bluefin Tuna*
Izumidai/Tilapia (Asia farmed)
Kani/Crab: King (imported)
Kodai/Tai/New Zealand Snapper (trawled)
Maguro/Tuna: Bigeye*, Skipjack,
Tongol, Yellowfin* (except troll/pole)
Sake/Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*
Shiro Maguro/Albacore Tuna (imported)*
Unagi/Freshwater Eel (farmed)
Uni/Sea Urchin Roe (Maine)
If you eat at a sushi restaurant, you should try and avoid eating the species mentioned above as their levels are dwindling and they need to be replenished. Conversely, the species mentioned below should be seen as the best choices for you to go for when eating sushi or other forms of seafood:
Amaebi/Spot Prawn (BC)
Awabi/Abalone (US farmed)
Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (AK, BC)
Ikura/Salmon roe (AK wild)
Iwana/Arctic Char (farmed)
Iwashi/Pacific Sardines (US)
Izumidai/Tilapia (US farmed)
Kani/Crab: Dungeness, Stone
Katsuo/Bonito/Skipjack Tuna (troll/pole)
Maguro/Yellowfin Tuna (US troll/pole)
Masago/Smelt Roe (Iceland)
Mirugai/Giant Clam/Geoduck (wild)
Saba/Atlantic Mackerel (Canada)
Sake/Salmon (AK wild)
Sawara/Spanish Mackerel (US)*
Shiro Maguro/Albacore Tuna (troll/pole, BC and US)
Suzuki/Striped Bass (farmed and wild*)
Toro/Tuna: Yellowfin (US troll/pole)
Uni/Sea Urchin Roe (Canada)
Source – Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
The onus is certainly on the sushi restaurant you visit to supply sustainably sourced seafood but you can definitely play your part as well by only visiting restaurants that openly exhibit their dedication and efforts to actively purchasing sustainably sourced seafood. There has, of course, been a lot of media attention surrounding the issue of sustainable fishing all over the world of late and whilst it may feel removed from your day to day life, you can play a role by only eating species that are currently at risk in the world’s oceans.
This guest post is written for the purpose of supporting sustainable sushi.