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Sushi Chefs Search for Bluefin Alternatives

Endangered tuna yields to farmed variety, humbler fish
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 1:18 PM CST
Sushi Chefs Search for Bluefin Alternatives
Japan buys 80% of the bluefin tuna in the world.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – As bluefin gets ever closer to extinction and governments mull a ban on international trade in the prized tuna, some restaurants are taking it off the menu. Others are sticking with the old favorite because it's what customers expect, but converts embrace the change. “It forces me to be much more creative,” one chef tells the Boston Globe. “In my experience, if you stick to what you actually believe in, people will follow you.”

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A more sustainable, farmed replacement, Kindai tuna, is gaining market share. “It’s comparable in quality and flavor,” a chef says, and “slightly less metallic.” It’s also pricier, at over $30 a pound to wild bluefin’s $20. Kindai requires a bit less food than “traditionally ranched bluefin,” but “that doesn’t make it OK,” an expert says. “Sushi restaurants are in denial. Sustainability is not a choice.” (Read more bluefin tuna stories.)

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