Alarming Trends Show That We May Be the Last Generation to Enjoy Good Sushi
Sushi today is arguably the most popular cultured cuisine. The tasty freshness, the exotic variety and the simplistic beauty of sushi truly makes it a treasure of all foods. I mean, who hasn’t said to themselves at least once, “I could eat sushi every day, forever”?
Unfortunately, our insatiable love for sushi will be a cause of great destruction and sadness on the planet.
The problem: Sushi has become too damn popular and the fish industries are producing at unsustainable rates. The best kind of tuna, bluefin, is in such demand that the Pacific Ocean can’t support the Asian market alone, so countries like Japan, South Korea and Mexico are now moving to the Atlantic in an effort to exploit these million-dollar fish — in 2013, one 490-lb tuna fetched a record setting $1.35 million in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna population, which is an endangered species, has declined by almost 100 percent in recent years. They are being caught at such a high rate that the actual fish are getting smaller because they are younger — 90 percent of those caught are too young to even reproduce, according to the NOAA Fish Watch. International organizations establish conservation methods, but no solution is simple and enforcement remains one of the largest problems, especially when the black market for bluefin tuna churns billions in illegal trade.
But it’s not just the tuna that’s at risk. In the long run, all wild-caught fish in the ocean is in danger. Back in 2010, Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN’s Environmental Programme, explained the inevitable decline of sea life:
“If the various estimates we have received … come true, then we are in the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish.”
For this, we can blame overfishing, ineffectively enforced fishing limits, pollution, climate change — humans are basically just destroying the ocean.
The consequences: By the time we 20-somethings are living it up as 60 and 70-year-olds, we may no longer be able to depend on the ocean to provide us with wild fish and other fruits of the sea.
With increasing demand and limited supply, expect the price of sushi to steadily increase. Even spicy tuna rolls may be considered an expensive delicacy one day.
By the time we are older, fish farms might ensure that sushi will still be around, but we’ll know firsthand that only real sushi is made with the best wild-caught fish.
We may see the golden age of sushi end within our lifetime, and we may all surely die from the sadness.