Sushi: the Global Catch

Sushi: the Global Catch

Documentary | Mark Hall | USA | 2011 | 75 min | English/Japanese | English subtitles
Voorstelling: Sunday 18 March 13:00 | SK/1

Forty years ago, the only place you could eat sushi was in Tokyo. Today it is readily available in every city across the globe, driving the majestic blue fin tuna - one of sushi’s main ingredients - to extinction. Sushi: the Global Catch shows how huge demand and unrestrained trade can kill off an entire species and a food culture.

Whether you find yourself in Lodz, Poland or in Austin, Texas, you wouldn’t be very surprised to run across a sushi bar. In less than four decades, sushi has grown from a hyperlocal dish into a universally available luxury snack. What probably will surprise you, on the other hand, is that there is a fair chance that the tuna wrapped in those much-loved Japanese rolls actually came from Japan. At least, that is where the tuna is usually traded.
The main market for tuna is the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. From all over the world frozen tuna are flown there to be sold to the highest bidder. This has been possible since the seventies when specialized (and very profitable!) airlifts came from elsewhere to import tuna to Japan. Since then the market exploded, with major consequences for worldwide tuna stocks.
"We will never be able to save bluefin tuna from extinction, if it is given low priority”, says Casson Trenor, who runs a sustainable sushi restaurant in (where else but) San Francisco. Indeed, the current regulation of tuna stocks is clearly insufficient. The organization that is supposed to protect the fish, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), has been sneeringly dubbed the ‘International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna'.

In Sushi: the Global Catch, we see how, with the help of military equipment, valuable bluefin tuna is tracked and caught, how proud the traditional Japanese sushi chefs and fishmongers are of their wonderful food culture and how that food culture across the globe is rapidly turning into vulgar fast food. The film covers haute cuisine in three-star restaurants to the abominable Sushi Poppers (prepackaged sushi in sliding plastic tubes) at the American baseball game. And how the greedy world population is gobbling up an entire species without even realizing it.

The Food Film Festival pays extra attention to sushi this year. In addition to Sushi: the Global Catch, we also screen the beautiful documentary  Jiro, Dreams of Sushi. A documentary about the art of sushi making and the best sushi chef of the world, the 85 years old Jiro Ono. Besides these two documentaries, you may learn how to prepare sustainable sushi with locally caught fish, in the Waddenzee & Wasabi workshop.

Sushi: The Global Catch - Trailer from Sakana Films on Vimeo.

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