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Yes Sushi, No Sushi

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Planning on going to Little Tokyo or Sawtelle or your neighborhood convenience store tonight?

Thinking of ordering Unagi?

Or Hamachi?

Consider, then, the "Ocean Friendly Sushi" guide produced by the Blue Ocean Institute, an advocacy org founded by MacArthur winner Carl Safina and author Mercedes Lee.


The wallet-sized foldout offers advice on how to best consume sushi, and then, when flipped over, has a simple red / yellow / green key showing which regional varieties and fishing and farming techniques lead to BOI-approved dining.

Here's an example from the guide, of the red-flagged Kuro Maguro (Atlantic Bluefin Tuna):

"Highly valued by sushi connoisseurs, Atlantic Bluefin Tuna have been exploited heavily since the 1970s and are extremely depleted. Since 1996, the World Conservation Union has listed the western population of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna as critically endangered and the eastern population as endangered. Bluefin Tuna can also be caught as juveniles and fattened in net pens. This "farming" method prevents the fish from spawning, further reducing Bluefin numbers."

Here's the word about Sake (Alaska Wild Salmon) a green-lit morsel, complete with a Marine Stewardship Council logo:

"With good management and a fairly healthy habitat, Wild Alaska Salmon remain abundant. There are concerns, however, that more needs to be done to protect natural spawning habitat and to properly manage hatcheries. This ranking also applies to roe from these fish."

The Institute (motto: Fresh Inspiration for Ocean Conservation) also has a text messaging service and cell and smart phone apps that do the same as the paper guide.

Find all the info. here at the Institute's website.

Illustration copyright and courtesy Richard Neilson, 2009

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