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Jiro Ono Thoughts and the Status of Wild Fishery

Even today, the majority of fish consumed by humans is taken in the wild. Although aquaculture and farmed fisheries are becoming more effective and are expected to eventually take over wild fishery, they still have a long way to go, both in technological advances and adoption by major fishing nations (China, the United-States, Indonesia, India, Peru, the Russian Federation, Japan, etc.)

Overfishing and its impact on human comsumption

In the meantime, populations of wild fishes are dwindling and species are slowly but surely becoming instinct. This is due not only to climate changes, changes in the fishes' ecosystems, pollution and marine habitat destruction, but it is also a cause of overfishing. Although governments pass increasingly tougher laws, the problem of overfishing is still far from being solved.

blue fin tuna Jiro Ono Concerns

The most glaring example of overfishing is Japan's Bluefin Tuna, which is rapidly disappearing. Japan's is the land of sushi and other succulent fish dishes. The average Japanese person consumes up to 155 pounds of fish annually. Bluefins are the largest tuna and are said to be the tastiest. The Bluefin Tuna is the star if much sushi dishes, and its slow disappearance may forever change the face of the art of sushi making.

Ono's Concerns

One of the world's most prominent sushi master, Japan's Jiro Ono, 89 years old, is concerned that next generations will not be able to fully enjoy sushi as it is known today, and that overfishing will change the materials sushi is made of. Ono, whose three Michelin-starred Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant is hailed as the best in the world, has already started to see a change in the fishes available on the market and how this impacts his delicious creations. Ono recalls how, three years ago, he told his young apprentices that in five years sushi materials would be totally different. Now three years into his prophecy, Ono regretfully sees that he was right and the reality of overfishing is catching up.

Tuna Nigiri Otoro

Ono says the problem with Bluefin Tuna overfishing is how fishermen do not differentiate between mature fishes and young fishes which are not yet ready to be taken out of their habitat. The young fishes are caught along the mature fishes, which causes the stock to deplete, he says. He also warns of the overfishing of shellfish, such as ark shell and abalone, which suffer the same fate as Bluefine Tuna: they are fished before having reach maturity.

The situation is dire and more high-profile chefs and personalities may need to come out and speak about the issue before most wild fishes are instinct. We still do not know if aquaculture and farmed fishery will be able to adequately meet the world's needs in fish and shellfish or if the many fish shortages can be reversed.

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