Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sushi is not sustainable

This isn't news; world fish stock/supply is depleting.

Blame Sushi.

And I'm not joking.

Japanese eat a lot of fish and seafood; Japan has been importing enormous amount of fish from every part of the globe. Now, with more people in the world choosing seafood over to meat for health reasons or just because they love Sushi, the world is depleting fish stock even faster.

Sushi has traditionally been very high-end food, expensive.

That means fish supply (especially fresh) has been far below the demand if there was no aquaculture involved, at least in Japan. This is the very important rule that we should never have forgotten. However, by accelerating import, Japanese misinterpreted the situation and acted as if the fish supply grew. Sushi got cheaper and became almost like daily food. But it wasn't right. Suppy cannot grow really; we were merely depleting the stock in other parts of the world.

Some fishery and aquaculture is very unsustainable...actually disruptive to the environment. Illegal fishing beyond the boundary is also a problem. But consumers are not well informed about those facts.

I am trying to buy "sustainable" seafood. (Check out Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay Aquarium) And they are expensive! Price is deterimed by the relationship of supply and demand - a classic economic principle. Fish is expensive = supply is limited.

Graphic: World fish import: Japan is purple.


luis said...

Very interesting.

If the economics don't work, recycling and sustainable efforts won't either.
Check a blog about innovative entrepreneurs that make money selling recycled items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources. These include some very cool Green online ventures, great new technologies, startups and investments opportunities.

Innisfree said...

True, but sad. I love sushi. Too many people and not enough fish in the world. :(

eco-samurai said...

Exactly, we have to remind us that Sushi used be very high-end food because fresh fish with good quality was inherently expensive.
Sadly we can't expand our ocean to have more fish.....