Organic Food

Sustainable Sushi: Or, What to Avoid, No Matter How Much You Want It

Sustainable SushiAccording to the reliable Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, we have practically loved the ocean to death. Some of our most favorite fishes have become endangered and should not be ordered in restaurants or from fish mongers.

Although the Monterey Bay folks have no quarrel with farm-raised fish, I certainly do.  I am not interested in animal or aquatic products who may have been fed gmo-corn, or soy, and for that reason, refuse to buy any farm-raised fish.

Fortunately,  we somehow did get standards in U.S. retail fish vendors, who are required by law to mark the fish in the case by country of origin, and whether or not the fish was wild-caught, or farm raised.

If you are shopping in a store that does not label the fish in the case, kindly inform the fish monger that he is breaking the law, and find yourself another vendor.

That being said, I do wish to point you to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s terrific website, where you can order a handy pocket guide to sustainable fish, or just log on anytime you’re thinking of buying fish. Is there an AP for that? I don’t know. There should be.

And this brings us to the pull of traditional sushi favorites and the reality of the ocean’s distress.

Yes, I know you like bluefin tuna, but is really endangered and you shouldn’t order it. Period. Ditto for Atlantic halibut or flounder, and please leave the poor red snapper in the sea. There are just not enough of them.

The sushi that we eat today has its origins in fish preservation techniques that are hundreds of years old. Then, fish filled our oceans. Today, there are serious concerns about the number of fish left in the sea and it’s time to create new traditions.

If you want to know more, order this book: Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time by Casson Trenor (North Atlantic Books, 2009)

A guide to sustainable, wild-caught sushi.

Masago/Smelt roe/Capelin (Iceland)

Mirugai/Giant Clam/Geoduck (Wild-caught)

Sawara/Mackerel, Spanish (U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Gindara/Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska, British Columbia)

Sake/Salmon (Alaska Wild-caught)

Ikura/Salmon Roe (Alaska Wild-caught)

Iwashi/Sardines (U.S. Pacific)

Uni/Sea Urchin Roe (Canada)

Spot Prawn (British Columbia)

Suzuki/Striped Bass (Wild-caught)

Shiro Maguro/Tuna, Albacore (U.S., Canadian Pacific Troll, Pole-and-line)

Katsuo/Bonito/Tuna, Skipjack (Troll, Pole-and-line)