If environmentalists’ efforts are successful, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, a much sought-after fish that’s been overharvested for the sushi trade, may soon gain protection as an endangered species.
Celebrities from Charlize Theron to Sting to Elle McPherson have spoken out against the overfishing of the bluefin, and indeed its population has been decimated as a result of the growing popularity of sushi in the U.S. and elsewhere. Political leaders in France, Britain and Monaco have pledged to support an endangered listing for the bluefin.
Many sushi connoisseurs are concerned that such protection of the bluefin will mean the end of sushi as we know it. In fact, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, perhaps the most famous sushi chef in the world, refuses to drop bluefin from his Nobu restaurant chain menu.
There are, however, some prominent sushi lovers who argue that sushi without bluefin can be truly excellent and every bit as authentic.
Chef Trevor Corson, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, enjoys what he calls â€˜the old-school kings of the sushi bar,â€™ the smaller, lighter, leaner and more local fish and shellfish that he says have more interesting flavors and textures. Corson, the only â€˜sushi conciergeâ€™ in the USA, is author of â€˜The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice.â€™
Another example is Japanese chef Hajime Sato, who converted his sushi bar, Matsuhisa, to an entirely sustainable menu, Corson notes.
For those who love sushi but also support responsible conservation, it appears there is, at the very least, hope.
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