Can Fish-Hungry Japan Go Sustainable?

Slowly, world's sushi capital seeing more eco-friendly seafood in supermarkets
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2008 7:16 AM CDT
Greenpeace activists protesting next to the Albatun Tres, which the group claims is the world's largest tuna fishing vessel.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Japan loves its fish: The island nation consumes an average of 147 pounds per person a year, compared to America’s 17. So, Samuel Fromartz wonders in Gourmet, how can Japanese fisheries continue to support supermarket fish counters as large as an entire US meat section? The answer, slowly gaining ground, is sustainable fishing, and retailers’ desire to have an eco-friendly stamp.

Some 20% of fish imports are now certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, which opened its Tokyo office just last year—no mean feat in a country that reveres (as food) the threatened bluefin tuna, and considers whale meat a delicacy. Still, holdouts persist in Japan's upper culinary echelons. “I’m sure there is a chef out there,” one expert said. “I just don’t know of any.”