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ChewsWise Blog

How to eat seafood

The other day a friend told me she had stopped eating seafood, since it wasn't a "sustainable" choice. I replied by mentioning that many species were actually well managed and the best thing to do was to choose the right ones -- that way you help to shift the market a bit in the right direction.

As Barton Seaver writes in his new cookbook, For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking:

So why eat seafood at all, you might ask? Because if we don't, then we will lose a vital and necessary part of our diet. We would put even more hardworking communities out of work. We would lose control over the fisheries that we do have a chance to manage well. We would lose our chance to encourage the restoration of ecosystms. The compelling narrative of conservation is a story of responsible consumption. 

My only quibble there might be with the word, "necessary." But for those who do choose to eat fish, Seaver is right. There are ample resources, such as Seafood Watch's wallet card and iPhone and Android apps, to help you make the right choices. Valuable books like Seaver's show in great detail just how many wonderful dishes can be made with sustainable fish. 

It's not a hard sell. In Washington, I organized a sustainable seafood buying club for 17 families in which we buy fish direct from fishermen. The only requirement is that the fish must be sustainable. It's a bit of work arranging shipments but I've found the quality unmatched, and the price very competitive. (Next up, oysters, I think from the mid-Atlantic region).

While these choices may be confusing to the average consumer, supermarkets in the US and aboard are offering better choices and removing those species that are overfished or in decline. (Whole Foods even tags their fish as best, good, and avoid, based on the health of the fishery). 

Finally, there are notable events such as Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions, held annually, which draws thousands to cooking demos, talks, and an evening sampling of sustainable fish at a gala fundraiser. I highly recommend it.

Not to be outdone, though, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington held a smaller and more intimate affair just last night focusing on The Gulf and its Seafood: One Year Later. Many area chefs were on hand, including Seaver with a salted cod sampler (Atlantic cod was recently upgraded to a "good alternative"), Hank's Oyster Bar, with its superlative lobster roll (yes, lobster is in ample supply and sustainable), and many others with dozens of creative concoctions, including those made with Gulf seafood which has been deemed safe following the Big Spill. It's the stealth seafood event in Washington and is going on my calendar next year as well. My only quibble -- a day-long companion oceans conference would be a fantastic resource for writers and journalists like me, but I only found out about it after the fact.

But here's the main thing. If you like seafood, it is not difficult to make a sustainable choice. It may even be staring right at you in the supermarket: like whole rainbow trout, for example. I like to grill this fish, maybe three minutes a side, over a medium fire. If you have doubts about when it's done, gently poke it open with a knife -- the fish should be starting to flake and turning white. Don't overcook it! Squeeze a bit of lemon on it when it's done. Sprinkle it with salt. You can do a lot of fancier things, but with seafood I find fast and easy is often the best.

- Samuel Fromartz

Food for thought - recent links

Tom Philpott, Grist: A USDA researcher has linked to colony collapse disorder in bees to Bayer's neonicotinoid pesticides, though other factors contribute to it. The pesticides are used extensively on corn, which covers a quarter of the nation's cropland.

Mark Bittman, NYTimes: His columns have become a must read, with this one warning about the effects of carbon emissions on the oceans. At the same time, he points out that the U.S. has made strides in controlling its catch -- something which can't be said globally. 

Greenpeace: Related to Bittman's piece, the Seafood sustainability report (pdf)  from Greenpeace rating supermarkets is worth a look. Safeway took top honors though it opined that Whole Foods would probably rise in the rankings once it eliminates red-listed species, as it plans to do in a phase-out plan.  Overall 15 of 20 retailers had passing grades.

Barry Estabrook: Politics of the Plate takes a look at the recent suit filed by organic groups, seed companies and farmers against Monsanto over genetic drift.

WaPo: In a long, drawn-out Beer Madness tasting of 64 beers, a WaPo panel ends up naming this winning beer: Exit 4 American Trippel from Flying Fish Brewing Co. in Cherry Hill, N.J. All I know about Exit 4 is that we pass it on on the Turnpike on the way to NYC. Guess we'll have to stop now.

David Chang's new iPad app Lucky Peach. We saw the buzz in the NY Times and Bon Appetit but where the heck is the thing? An iTunes search comes up empty. The ramen awaits.

- Samuel Fromartz



What do you do with a whole Salmon?


Washington SeaSA, my little venture buying sustainable seafood direct from fishermen for a group of about 10 families in DC, is now in year two. Latest on the menu: sockeye salmon from Bill Webber, who fishes the flats off the Copper River in Alaska. This followed an  oyster shucking party, with the farm-raised bivalves from Rappahannock Oyster Co. They were excellent.

I first met Bill last year, when I made the trek up to Alaska to see the fishery. It didn't take me long to ask Bill if he'd ship direct to us and he said he would, as long as we met his 50 pound minimum. Which is why I corralled up my friends. It wasn't a hard sell. 

Bill sends us whole fish, headed and gutted. He also bleeds the fish on his boat, which he argues makes for a much fresher fish. Blood begins to decay once the fish dies and that in turn degrades the flesh, so if you remove the blood -- with a special pressure tube he developed -- you can slow down the clock. He then ships the fish to us in a chilled pack and I drive out to Alaska Airlines' cargo dock to pick it up.

Now, when you buy salmon in the store, you only get the fillet. Getting the whole fish is a different story. I fillet the salmon on our kitchen counter (with an excellent sashimi knife I got from Japan). Aside from the fillet, I'm left with the rich belly meat, which is the bacon of salmon and is excellent fried in a pan. (What can I say, pork belly, salmon belly, it's all good). Then there's the carcass which usually has about a pound of meat on it. These "waste products" amount to a lot of food.

So what do you do them? 

With our last fish, I made stock, layering sliced onions and thin fennel stalks and drizzling them with olive oil. Then I placed the 2-1/2 pound liberally salted carcass on top, covering and then sweating the fish on a low flame for 20 minutes. I then added water and a cup of dry white wine to cover, simmering it for another 20 minutes. Finally, I took it off the heat and let the fish sit for an hour to release its essence. This follows Rick Moonen's method in Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion, which is now my go-to fish book. Like many chefs he does not recommend using salmon for stock, which is a shame.  Salmon stock is bursting with flavor and isn't oily. But it helps if it's very fresh.

Once the stock cooled, I strained it, and then removed the meat from the bones, ending up with a big container of salmon delicately flavored by the fennel. I ate salmon salad sandwiches for several days, though you could also make salmon croquettes, as another friend did with the remnants of her stock.

Since we had eaten our fill of fresh salmon over a couple of days, I took a remaining fillet and cut thin paillards --  angled cuts 1/4 inch thick -- a wonderful technique I also got from Moonen's book. I salted them, wrapped them up in plastic wrap and froze them (a typical Japanese home-cooking method). These can be taken out and cooked immediately in a toaster oven or in a broiler. They cook in about 4-5 minutes if frozen, or about a minute on each side if defrosted or fresh. So it's a really fast dinner.

With the stock on hand, I was thinking paella but was short a few ingredients. I went ahead anyway since I wanted to use the stock.

I sauteed a fennel bulb, an onion, half a red pepper, 2 slices of bacon, a clove of chopped garlic and an Italian sausage I had laying around. When the veggies were soft and the meat brown, I added just over a cup of arborio rice and sauteed it for a minute. Then I poured in a cup of simmering stock, with a generous pinch of saffron, stirring now and then. As the stock was absorbed by the rice, I added more. What I wouldn't have done for a dozen mussels or clams!

Halfway through, I oiled up three of the frozen paillards and put them in the broiler. They sizzled while the paella continued to cook in the stock.

With everything nearly done, I sauteed a bunch of rainbow chard and garlic from the garden and out came the dinner -- a thoroughly satisfying plate of pseudo-paella, broiled salmon and sauteed chard.

Using the whole fish is a bit of work, or rather it takes time to prepare. But once you have the fish, you realize all the possibilities at hand. Now, if I could just get salmon roe in Bill's next shipment.

Addendum: Here's another tip. Fire up your grill. Cut the stalks off a fennel bulb. Rub a fillet with olive oil and season it with salt . When the fire has burned down to medium heat, lay the stalks over the grill and lay the fish on top. You'll have fennel perfumed salmon. The salmon should flake when done, but still be visibly moist inside. Remove from the fennel, then drizzle more olive oil, lemon and/or fresh oregano on the fish and serve.

- Samuel Fromartz

Hope for Blue Fin Tuna, U.S. Backs Ban

Big news for a prized but endangered fish. Hopefully, this will lead to movement to ban trade in a species that is headed for extinction. The Washington Post reports:

The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it supports prohibiting international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a move that could lead to the most sweeping trade restrictions ever imposed on the highly prized fish.

Sushi aficionados in Japan and elsewhere have consumed bluefin for decades, causing the fish's population to plummet. In less than two weeks, representatives from 175 countries will convene in Doha, Qatar, to determine whether to restrict the trade of bluefin tuna -- valued for its rich, buttery taste -- and an array of other imperiled species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Alaskan Salmon and the Birth of a SeaSA

Coho Salmon, Copper River

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Alaska to check out the Copper River salmon fishery and I'm happy to say I came back with more than a story. 

There, I met a fisherman Bill Webber, pictured above, who sells direct to customers. The proposition made sense when I saw fisherman got only $1.85 per pound for Copper River sockeye salmon. This was the same stuff -- or actually a better grade of fish -- than I was buying at Whole Foods for at least $15 a pound this summer. The middlemen can move a lot of fish, but it also creates opportunity for fishermen who want to sell direct to people like me who want a really fresh fish.

I also learned that Alaska has extremely stiff fishing regulations that extend to boat ownership. They require commercial fishermen to be on their boats, preventing one fisherman from owning a fleet of boats in the same fishery. The hundreds of boats in Cordova, Alaska, where I was visiting, were all small businesses protected from industry concentration. (When I mentioned that to a farmer, she said that would do wonders for agriculture).

These fishermen also depend on distant markets, because a few boats could probably feed the entire town for a year -- easily. In fact, without distant markets, there wouldn't be a town since there's hardly anything else going on aside from fishing. Okay, maybe moose hunting.

So I decided to buy fish direct from Alaska, to support the fishermen and the remarkably sustainable fishery up there. 

I told my friends here in DC and we decided to buy seven fish -- 64 pounds total. Last Monday, on Labor Day, Bill went out gillnetting for Coho salmon, which run around 9 pounds each. On Tuesday, he put the chilled fish on an Alaska Airlines jet. On Wednesday, I picked the box up at DC's airport -- just in time to get snarled in traffic because Obama was giving his health-care speech on Capitol Hill, around the corner from my house. Forgot the streets would be on lockdown.

Anyway, I finally made it home, then spent the next two hours filleting the fish listening to Obama on the radio (and cheering him on).

Coho Fillet

The fish were a big hit. As one friend said in an email, "We love our Salmon! It is not only tastier but the texture is very much better than the supermarket or fish market equivalent." We also had a lot of carcasses, which some people passed on. Too bad. There was a lot of meat on them, which one friend made into a fume (stock) and then risotto. Another friend salted the carcass and kept it in the frig.

I think I'm going to pick the meat off the bones and make salmon burgers, then make fume with the bones, leeks, and fennel. I'm using the tail portion of the fish for gravlax. We've already had grilled salmon and salmon aoili sandwiches on ciabatta rolls.

Now, I know, some will say, you're flying fish from Alaska? But if you're going to eat fish, I think the most important thing is the sustainability of the fishery -- and on that score, Alaska is a leader. Plus, this was a first step. I will be looking at nearby sources, too, in the future. But for me, the health of the fishery is more important than the locale when it comes to fish.

With shipping, we ended paying less than retail (though I did cramp my shoulder from all the filleting). Still, it was worth it.

If you missed it, check out the short video I shot on Bill's boat.

- Samuel Fromartz

France, UK, seek to give bluefin a chance, what about US, or Nobu?

President Sarkozy announced Thursday that France was going to back a ban in the international trade of endangered bluefin tuna -- a significant step since France has the biggest tuna fleet in the Atlantic. "Ours is the last generation with the ability to take action before it's too late," Sarkozy said.

Although France has the biggest fleet, it doesn't actually consume all that much bluefin. The tuna caught in the Atlantic and Mediterranean largely ends up in Japan, so if trade is banned, the species has a chance of rebounding -- eventually. Studies have estimated that in a few years, there will be no tuna of breeding age left in the Atlantic, meaning the commercial extinction of the species is in sight. 

"Clearly President Sarkozy has had advice that there is little left to catch and so he might as well come out smelling of roses," Charles Clover, author of End of the Line, told me via email. He adds more insight on his blog.

What's less clear is the US position, since bluefin can migrate over the entire Atlantic and also breed in the Gulf. Hopefully, the US will get on board and support this trade ban before there's no more bluefin tuna left to protect. Whether the tuna will be able to avoid the fate northern cod, which crashed and never rebounded, is another question. 

Meanwhile, chefs such as Nobu and his notable restaurateur partner Drew Nieporent are still serving the fish, despite Nieporent's blather about doing "the right thing." 
- Samuel Fromartz

In the News - Baguettes, Gardens, Fish

Susan over at Wild Yeast blog tried my baguette recipe and the results were stunning. Just take a look at the pictures to see her results. If you have a great loaf nearby and want a simple treat, dip a piece of bread in a good olive oil and sprinkle a few grains of fleur de sel on it. I gave this tip to my friend Roger, a former newspaper reporter now blogging for the California Olive Ranch.

In other links, Obama Foodorama has an astute analysis of the White House garden and Michelle Obama's mission to change the way the nation eats. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the Queen mother has planted an organic garden in a corner of Buckingham Palace. (Maybe that's why Michelle Obama was gently putting her arm around the Queen.) NYT also has a piece on rooftop gardening, which in part has been spurred by tax incentives.

Clare Leshin-Hoar stirs the pot in the WSJ, with a piece on how CSAs (community supported agriculture schemes) have come to the seafood world, with CSFs (community supported fish). Fish lovers in Boston can buy a share of the catch, though with this caveat: not everything is sustainable (cod, for instance).

In follow-up news, the campaign to stop Nobu from serving endangered bluefin tuna has not yet yielded results. Although partner Drew Nieporent told the New York Post, "At the end of the day, we are going to do the right thing," so far that has meant doing nothing. They are clearly betting this campaign will blow over and they will continue to serve bluefin tuna until it is literally gone.
- Samuel Fromartz

Hey Bittman, What About Blow Torch Mackerel?


I loved Mark Bittman's piece, a kind of "confessions of a fish lover," in which he recounts his personal evolution with seafood. Even in one lifetime, in one career, his choices on seafood took a dramatic turn because of overfishing. "Sadly, the list of fish I don't eat is much longer than the fish that I do," he writes.

Unlike him, though, I don't find sustainable seafood choices that confusing but maybe because I stick to a few species I like (like flash frozen Alaskan salmon or Mahi Mahi or mussels). The NY Times "room for debate" blog on this issue was also well done, garnering expert opinion on good seafood choices.

And while he noted that mackerel, a sustainable but oily fish, "has never been popular," that may only be true recently. It was once the most popular catch on the Eastern seaboard, rivaling cod. It's also a common dish in Japan, often served in home kitchens. Much of it, luckily, comes from stocks in Norway that are being certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Here's perhaps the best way I've had mackerel -- in the picture above at a bar in Tokyo. The mackerel was brined then the skin crisped up under a torch by the waitress. OK, maybe this isn't a recipe Bittman would recommend for the home cook!
- Samuel Fromartz

Bluefin tuna issue building in UK, will it jump the pond?

Now that a bevy of stars including actress Charlize Theron and Sting are aboard the campaign to save Bluefin tuna, even disrobing to promote the cause (weirdly, with a cod), the question remains, How far will the movement go?

Nobu restaurant group has not budged on the issue, other than issuing a warning label on its menu that the bluefin it serves is "threatened." Restaurateur Drew Nieporent who works with Nobu told the NY Post, "We're evaluating it. At the end of the day, we are going to do the right thing." But he did not say what he thought the "right thing" was. A stalling tactic? Or perhaps they're wondering how they can act without seeming to cave to the pressure. (For background, see my previous post: What Nobu Should Do on Bluefin Tuna).

The BBC points out that a couple of major British companies this week issued a ban on bluefin and are changing tuna sourcing: Pret A Manger, the sandwich chain in the UK, was getting rid of tuna. Marks & Spencer, another UK chain, also said it was switching to pole caught skipjack tuna, avoiding the purse seining method that also ensnares a lot of bluefin and dolphin in nets.

Tuna is a staple around the world, though whether it's sustainable depends upon the species, the place it was caught and the way it was caught. These are tough issues for a consumer to navigate, which is why it's worth checking out Seafood Watch, Blue Oceans Institute and EDF, which have done the leg work and have handy cards (and cell and iPhone apps) for sustainable seafood choices.

For a bit of history on tuna, check out How Tuna Conquered the World. And thanks to the shout outs at Blogfish and on the Nobu piece.
- Samuel Fromartz

What Should Nobu Do on Bluefin Tuna? A Few Offer Advice

Image source: Bluefin Tuna, Monterey Bay Aquarium

By Samuel Fromartz

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is one of the world's most celebrated Japanese sushi chefs, and with partners, like Robert De Niro, he operates 24 restaurants globally that have been a favored haunt of Hollywood stars.

But for several years now, he has come under fire for serving bluefin tuna, a spectacular and expensive species of tuna which is dangerously overfished in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Bluefin tuna populations are one-tenth of what they once were and industrial fishing, a good deal of it illegal, continues to decimate them.

British environmental journalist Charles Clover has been one of Nobu's loudest critics, and in The End of The Line, a powerful new documentary based on his book, bluefin tuna and Nobu's menu are a central issue. (The documentary opens on Monday, World Oceans Day.) 

In response, Nobu recently added an asterisk describing bluefin as "environmentally challenged" on the menu and putting the onus on diners to eat it or not. This move has not placated critics, like Greenpeace, which has demonstrated inside Nobu's flagship restaurant. Now the celebs who put Nobu on the map have threatened to boycott the restaurant over the issue. Among them: Charlize Theron, Sting and Elle Macpherson. They want a response by Monday.

Given the potential damage to the chef and his restaurant's reputation, I posed the following question to a number of people, including New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, ocean conservationist and writer Carl Safina, and several others, many of whom work on sustainable seafood issues.

What should Nobu do to resolve his conflict over serving bluefin tuna? How can he both protect his brand and ensure the highest dining experience for his patrons?

Michael Sutton
Director, Center for the Future of the Oceans
Monterey Bay Aquarium

As perhaps the nation's most prominent sushi chef and restaurant owner, Nobu has a vested interest in the sustainability of our seafood supplies. Kuro maguro, or bluefin tuna, is one of the most valuable and prized species for the sashimi market. Nobu naturally wants to supply his patrons with the very best sashimi, so it's understandable that he does not want to remove bluefin tuna from his menus.  

But the mark of a real leader is foresight, the ability to consider the future impact of present-day decisions.  And it doesn't take much foresight to see that bluefin tuna is seriously depleted throughout its range and could become commercially extinct in the near future. Nobu therefore has a terrific opportunity to become recognized as the savior of the bluefin tuna rather than a principal factor in its demise.  

If I were Nobu, I would seize the opportunity and issue a press release saying that after considering the long-term interests of sashimi lovers everywhere, I will no longer serve bluefin tuna in my restaurants until fishery managers have taken appropriate action to put the species on the road to recovery. A decade ago, leading chefs did just that by joining forces with the Give Swordfish a Break campaign, which helped build the political will for swordfish recovery.  Many of those leading chefs won praise from their clientele and have now have put swordfish back on their menus, secure in the knowledge that we'll all be able to enjoy swordfish for the future.  Nobu, it's your turn to step up to the plate and into the limelight!

Mark Bittman
“Minimalist” Columnist,
The New York Times

Author of Food Matters: A Guide To Conscious Eating and other books

Nobu is both a “he” and an “it.” I don’t know if “he” or the organization makes these decisions. It’s very simple. He/it either cares about this issue or does not. From a culinary perspective, I agree that yellowfin tuna is not a real substitute. But there is a world of food out there, and good chefs can work around hardships like this. If enough do, maybe bluefin will come back as a commercially viable species. If not – in short order, no one will be eating it, not even Nobu’s customers. Surely this is understandable.

Carl Safina
Author, Song for the Blue Ocean and other books
Founder Blue Ocean Institute

Nobu should do what we should always do: the right thing. The "highest" experience includes the awareness, sense of responsibility, and often the self-sacrifice that goes with real leadership. He should wear the intentional omission of bluefin as a badge of honor. 

The fish is doing extremely poorly specifically because of overfishing for sushi markets, and is listed "critically endangered" in the Atlantic. At the extreme minimum, he should stop selling wild bluefin and wait until the Australians (or whoever gets to market first) have farm-hatched fish for sale (not wild-caught, captive fattened). Even that has problems, but no one should be involved in killing wild bluefins at this point.

As far as I'm concerned, a person who does not care enough to do the right thing simply isn't a leader. Catching bluefin tuna and mako sharks was the most thrilling thing I ever did, and I did quite a bit of it--years ago; not anymore. For one thing, they're so rare it's just sad now. For another thing, I don't want to be part of what's obviously a big problem.

As for the "highest" experience, I'll say this: I would not go to Nobu for a free meal. He's just in it for himself and isn't trying to be part of the solution. That's typical, not "highest." There are, as they say, bigger fish to fry. Except that in this case, they're smaller fish, and they're raw.

Michael Ruhlman
Author of Ratio, The Reach of a Chef, and other books

While I cynically wonder if Charles Clover is using the tactic of singling out a high profile chef to promote the film based on his book, I also think Nobu ought to respond. He can say I'm doing nothing illegal and my allegiance is to my customer, not the fish. Fair enough.

But I believe it is a chef's duty to care for the earth and the source of his or her food. He ignores it at his own peril. If I were Nobu, I would not serve it and urge others not to. His example would be powerful. Also he's a chef, he should be able to make great food out of my lawn. Why does he need any one single fish to keep his business afloat?  Surely he can use his wits and talent to create extraordinary food without relying on the diminishing supply of wild bluefin.

I hear Chilean sea bass is nearly off the endangered list. I'd be willing to go five years or more without bluefin to ensure that it thrived.
Fedele Bauccio
Founder and CEO
Bon Appetit Management Co., a premium food service company focused on ethical sourcing for more than 20 years.

I don't see why Nobu has to serve bluefin tuna to protect his brand. The measure of a good chef should be making great tasting food using ingredients that are grown or harvested in a way that protects the well being of guests, the communities where the food is served and the natural environment that provides culinary bounty. Local, seasonal ingredients have been an honored tradition in Japanese cuisine for thousands of years. Why not build the menu around these treasured elements rather than serving a threatened species?


Barton Seaver
Founding Chef, Hook, Washington DC
Current Chef, Blue Ridge, Washington DC

The business of a restaurant is to satisfy guests and even the greatest can be broken by a fickle clientele. So it's not hard to understand why a restaurant group such as Nobu continues to play cards that work. Bluefin tuna is simply the best tuna in the sea. It also takes a lot of the guess work and variability out of a vast multinational operation.

But bluefin has not always been the king of the menu. Chefs like Nobu had to convince guests to try it. "And you want me to eat that raw?" was most likely the initial response. If chefs like Nobu could vault bluefin to its star status, then certainly they can use their talent to introduce guests to a substitute. Kate Winslet has said Nobu's 'food is like sex on a plate'. That is pretty good praise. Nobu clearly has the talent and credibility to shape tastes globally. It is time for him to do so with a delicious and sustainable solution.

Mark Powell
Marine Biologist, formerly with Ocean Conservancy

Nobu should use his standing to help build change.  For example, he could work with bluefin tuna conservationists to create an action campaign, and he could speak out for conservation and enlist his customers in the effort.  Nobu’s Save the Bluefin campaign could have “action of the month” opportunities such as advocating for specific management measures, e.g. science-based catch limits and protected areas for spawning fish. These could be chosen to address the biggest issues and opportunities as they arise. There’s a great need to work with people’s love for fish as seafood, rather than denying and fighting against such connections. Walking away from bluefin would be the easy way out. Working to correct the problem after years of profiting off the fish would be far more noble.

Kozo Ishii
Director, Marine Stewardship Council - Japan Program

There is a growing market for sustainably caught fish that is being supported by fisheries, fish processors, retailers and restaurants in the world. It remains the responsibility for all of us to support these efforts by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing where it is occurring.  As a celebrity chef and restaurateur, I think that Nobu is in a unique position to further accelerate the supply and demand for sustainably caught fish by not only committing to sourcing it himself, but also by using his voice to help drive home the urgent need to secure fish stocks for future generations.

Tim Fitzgerald
Marine Scientist, Oceans Program
Environmental Defense Fund

I'm of two minds on this one. On one hand, it seems clear that the only way forward is to remove it from their menu entirely. And if they really wanted to start repairing their tarnished eco-image, they could even go so far as to call on global tuna fisheries authorities to institute more sustainable management for these species. Or, they could support research to develop eco-friendly aquaculture that does not rely on wild-caught bluefin.

However, consumers have notoriously short memories, and Nobu might decide to weather the PR storm until it blows over. Remember the PCB scare with farmed salmon a few years ago? Six months later the industry was posting record profits as if nothing had ever happened.