Britain's sushi craving puts Japan's fish stocks under strain
The British love their sushi. They love it so much that their mass consumption of raw fish, especially convenient take-out 'supermarket sushi' may be straining worldwide fish stocks, and could result in the wipe-out of Japan's most famous cuisine.
The founder of Britain’s first conveyor-belt sushi restaurants told a forum of Japanese chefs and food suppliers yesterday that the appetite they had stimulated was not sustainable.
The warning came as, only a few miles across Tokyo, representatives from the 13 nations who consume the most tuna met scientists to discuss chronicover fishing and the possible extinction of sushi’s most critical ingredient.
High on their agenda, said insiders at the closed-door talks, was the explosive “sushi effect” on national eating habits around the world. The talks, which end today, are expected to result in a global agreement to tighten fishing rules.
Caroline Bennett, the founder of the Moshi Moshi sushi chain, said that expanding global appetites for sushi and the rapid emergence of fast-food sushi would not be met by the available natural resources.
While she applauded the speed with which Britain has developed a taste for awell-rolled tekka-maki, she questioned its role as anything other than anoccasional treat.
“Can the sea really let us eat sushi in these numbers?” she asked, adding that London now had more than 300 Japanese restaurants and the British market forJapanese food is worth more than £500 million a year.