Sushi craze – Appetite for disaster

During the late 1970’s, Japanese businesses started expanding to the United States. With the increase in Japanese businessman living locally more and more sushi restaurants opened and sushi chefs in the United States introduced sushi to Americans. After a while of Americans adapting to the idea of raw fish, the California roll was invented, and sparked a new trend towards fusion sushi. More and more Westerners started eating raw fish and many adaptations were made to the Edostyle sushi to adapt with the western culture.

However, the sushi craze comes at a horrible time for oceans, as marine biodiversity is gradually disappearing. The industrialized countries alone catch 28 million tons of seafood every year. At this rate, nearly all commercial fish species will have disappeared by 2050. The hunting of bluefin tuna is a hi-tech marvel and global greed is leading to the extinction of one of the world's great fish.

Our appetites are not only driving tuna but also sharks to extinction. As the oceans' top predators, sharks and bluefin tuna are integral to maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems while keeping other populations in balance. Decades of overfishing and shark finning have left shark and tuna in a disastrous situation. Some shark populations have dropped by 99%. Other things like the BP oil disaster threaten healthy ocean ecosystems for these species, as the Gulf of Mexico is one of two spawning grounds for Atlantic bluefin tuna.

According to , Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in the state. The bill passed the State House and Senate with great support and Oceana was instrumental to its passage. This bill moves the U.S. West Coast closer to a full ban on the trade of shark fins, thereby helping to protect global populations of at-risk shark species that are being targeted in unsustainable and unregulated fisheries worldwide.
The international commissions in charge of tuna fisheries are meeting and action could be taken from every individual by signing a petition to protect sharks and bluefin tuna from extinction. Petition

By: Raghda Al Mulhim