For the love of sushi

There was a point last year where I stopped eating sushi. I'd never been one to turn down raw fish before - ceviche, poke, carpaccio, sashimi: yes, please. Still, after chowing down on a rice-less roll at Sushiyama, I felt sort of sick to my stomach. From then on, the thought of uncooked fish summoned the gag reflex. I had reached the mythical sushi-saturation point.

A few months later, I started having sushi again. Dynamite and BC rolls eased me into finally digging into raw fish. And in the past little while, I have been a loud advocate of the saba-bien roll--heavenly salty, fatty mackerel on rice, delicately topped with scallions, which add some mild bite--at Zipang Sushi, definitely the best little Japanese joint in Vancouver.

Still, I think twice every time I take a bite of that delicious concoction. I wonder if I'm threatening the delicate ocean ecosystem. It's no secret that the world's governments have enabled fishermen to overfish the sea's stocks. We may run out of fish in the next 40 years, say the makers of the hot documentary, The End of the Line:
Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048.

The End of the Line chronicles how demand for cod off the coast of Newfoundland in the early 1990s led to the decimation of the most abundant cod population in the world, how hi-tech fishing vessels leave no escape routes for fish populations and how farmed fish as a solution is a myth.

The film lays the responsibility squarely on consumers who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is slow to react to an impending disaster.
The film's trailer says, "Lay off the Filet-o-Fishes," rather well, I think:

Earlier this week New York Magazine published a guide to ethical eating which placed eating seafood at the pinnacle in the hierarchy of earth-ruining foods. I felt so sad reading it, thinking I should just eat flax and spelt for the rest of my life.

But I was liberated from my gastronomic prison when I discovered that Japanese school children were eating dolphin for lunch. HA, suckers! My greedy consumption of super-drugged salmon paled in comparison to these kids who dined on Flipper regularly.

OK, actually it was a free lunch program and the kids had no idea where their school lunches came from or what they were, for that matter. Furthermore, they were forced to clean the mercury-laden meat off of their plates. In Taiji, a sleepy seaside town in Japan, dolphins are captured for export to aquariums around the world. Others are slaughtered for meat.

But no one's blaming the Japanese. Most have had the wool pulled over their eyes regarding what filmmakers of the exposé documentary The Cove call "a systematic cover-up of mercury and dolphin hunting issues in Japan." In a piece by Brian D. Johnson at Macleans, director Louie Psihoyos links the secret industry to government corruption and the yazuka--Japan's mafia.

See the shocking level of secrecy and unscrupulousness in The Cove's harrowing trailer. It chills the blood:

Right now, I'm trying to reconcile my disdain for places like Whole Foods (yoga pants, Jack Johnson soundtracks, and $10 boxes of crackers make me grumpy) with my genuine desire to reform my habits of consumption. But curbing my gluttony is a no-brainer though; now that delicious saba-bien roll comes with a side of Green Movement shame.

For dessert: Food, Inc.

Full disclosure: I had McDonalds last night. Filet-o-fish went down.


Matthew said...

I'm interested in seeing The Cove, but I found the trailer to be a tad over dramatic.

ML said...

Friends say it's amazing - an entertaining thriller. Sad and completely engaging.