By Dirk Sonniksen | April 11, 2013
Director: Mark Hall
Sushi: you know it, you love it, you eat it with chopsticks. From Tokyo to Austin, the masses are bellying up to the sushi bar, but with the growth of the sushi market comes concern that the supply cannot keep up with the demand. At the forefront of the dilemma is the bluefin tuna, a beautiful creature that is being sliced, diced, and served raw — right into extinction.
So, do you keep eating bluefin tuna regardless of its fate? Oh course you do, because even though the bluefin’s numbers are dwindling, your taste for this delicacy has restaurants in a bluefin buying frenzy, with one of these babies fetching as much as $100,000 (One bluefin recently sold for 1.7 million at Japan’s Tsukiji fish market). Sushi chefs don’t bat an eye (they are trained not to) and continue to sharpen their expertly crafted knives in preparation for the next throng of customers. But in truth, these chefs do worry and wonder what will become of their lifeblood should the oceans be purged of its most sought-after inhabitants.
Sushi: The Global Catch ponders this question and others by delving into the sustainable fishing issue. While there are indeed some interesting ideas on the table to solve the problem, in the end, it boils down to educating the consumer and convincing said consumer to adapt. Some potential solutions in the works include sushi restaurants serving only sustainable varieties of fish, and Australian tuna farms, satisfying the Japanese sushi fix by breeding bluefin in onshore pontoons. Will the consumer adapt? Will the fishermen of the world be rendered obsolete by wiping out the world’s supply of bluefin? Perhaps there is a future for them working on the tuna farms.
It does seem as though all involved realize the importance of finding a solution to the depletion of fish from our oceans. Though there is no consensus, our subjects do make some inroads and it plays out like intelligent folks having intelligent discussions, and surprisingly, there are no fanatical views presented here, no fist fights, and no conservative news segments belittling environmentalists. This might seem a bit dry, but the absence of these overused gimmicks actually makes Sushi: The Global Catch a more convincing and palatable documentary. Sushi: The Global Catch is not a tearjerker, and you likely won’t run to your nearest Greenpeace boat to sign up after viewing, but it is plenty informative, and who knows, it might change you. Every little bit helps.
Sushi: The Global Catch will be available via iTunes on 04/16/2013.