Sushi, prepared in many different ways, is Japan’s most iconic dish. With humble ingredients that make a convenient wrap for a huge bite, people from all over the world have come to appreciate more of it.
However, overfishing for sushi’s key ingredient is not only decimating the environment, but its not as good for your body as you think.
Apparently, leading marine biologists claim that sushi harms our health and the environment, the Daily Mail reported. Professor Daniel Pauly and Dr. Dirk Zeller, both from the University of British Columbia in Canada, revealed that bluefin and yellowfin tuna numbers are now in “crisis” levels.
It turns out the fad over omega-3 is to blame. Prof. Pauly told an audience at the Zoological Society of London:
“Historically we have had the ‘Popeye effect’ where everyone ate spinach, then vitamin D was good and vitamin C would save us from having cancer. Now it is omega-3 – all these things are going to save us, make us healthy and we are going to live forever. None of this is true – what we need is a balanced diet.”
Bluefin tuna is often served at high-end restaurants, while yellowfin tuna makes the budget-friendly rolls in supermarkets.
With regards to human health, Prof. Pauly warned that the tuna served in sushi bars contains plastic microbeads, which attract harmful chemicals in the likes of pesticides. They are also found in cosmetic products:
“Microbeads are poison pills which soak up all the pollutants and they are consumed by little fish which are then eaten by tuna.”
Dr. Zeller cautioned that tuna may contain high levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are often linked to cancer.
With tuna constantly overfished and sushi demands high, nature appears to be in danger. To make sense of this, Prof. Pauly suggests a historical perspective:
“We are in permanent crisis if you look at it in historic terms. Bluefin tuna was extremely abundant, especially in the Mediterranean. What has become of that? We have 2 to 3 per cent of what we had 200 years ago.”
In lieu of tuna, Prof. Pauly and Zeller suggested consumption of anchovies and sardines.