National: The Sustainable Sushi Guide, Considered

We’ve been reading a lot this week about the new sustainable sushi guide that was put out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Blue Ocean Institute. The idea behind the guide is that lots of seafood is a) not healthy, what with mercury and all, and b) not fished or farmed in an ecologically sound manner.

The guide is great in many way: it’s available as a printable pocket-sized PDF, very straightforward, and categorizes fish into three categories (best choices, OK choices, and worst choices). If you’ve been concerned about the fish you were eating at sushi restaurants, this cuts out the step of quizzing the chef on what fish is sustainable or healthy, and just generally being a high-maintenance customer.

On the flip side — and we’re mostly just playing devil’s advocate here — although it’s great that attention is being brought to this issue, it seems sort of improbable that the pocket guides (and one dedicated week for eating sustainable sushi) is going to make that much of a difference.

After all, we know that beef is not great for the environment. We are fully aware that most chickens are raised in horrendous, inhumane, conditions. And if you take stock in the locavore movement, everyone who lives outside of California is basically taking a gun to Mother Nature’s head by eating fruits and veggies shipped from all corners of the Earth.

That said, if any sustainable eating thing has a chance of catching on, this really seems like it might be the one. To be good about cattle, there’s not much recourse other than giving up beef eating. To follow Michael Pollan’s advice on eating locally, most of us would have to resign ourselves to never eating another orange, mango, pineapple, or any leafy greens outside of summer. Maybe now is the time to take this to heart! Print the guide, slip it into your wallet, and the next time that you are ordering sushi at Morimoto, Shiroi Hana, or whatever is your preferred sushi spot, give yourself a little pat on the back for being so nice to the planet.

Morimoto [MenuPages]
Morimoto [Official Site]
Shiroi Hana [MenuPages]
Shiroi Hana [Official Site]

[Photo: pea soup via [puamelia]/Flickr]

National: The Sustainable Sushi Guide, Considered