Disappearing Sushi

by Kensatsukan Gaijin

Japan is often considered the home of sushi and it is almost impossible to imagine Japan without it.  However, Japan is facing a crisis that could imperil its national cuisine.  Many popular species of fish made disappear due to overfishing and could disappear from Japan's menus in a few decades.

Japan consumes about 80% of the worlds Bluefin Tuna, but the population of this staple fish has dwindled to just 3.6 percent of its original population.  Spawning stocks have plummeted by about 3/4 in the past 15 years.  Roughly 90% of the tuna that were caught this year were too young to reproduce, meaning that they were the final generation.  The eel is also in great danger.  Japan consumes about 70% of the eel produced worldwide.  In February the Environment Ministry added the Japanese eel to the "endangered" category of fish, indicating that the species faces a high risk of extinction in the near future.  Annual catches of Japanese eel have dropped to just 5 percent of their levels in the 1960s.  Overfishing and environmental threats are a serious challenge for the 21st century.