The unflagging efforts of the stellar team at Seachoice, a coalition of five Canadian conservation organizations, have paid off in the creation of the new Seachoice sushi card. This excellent wallet-sized consumer guide highlights sustainable choices and identifies less positive options, which it differentiates via the tried-and-true red/yellow/green system employed in Sustainable Sushi and by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.
The primary author of this card, Shauna MacKinnon of the Living Oceans Society (a British Columbian NGO forming one of the legs of the SeaChoice pentapod), worked hand-in-hand with both Canadian and American scientists, conservation organizations, and industry representatives to compile a thorough account of the seafood options that are often found at any given sushi bar north of the Peace Arch. The final culmination of this admirable task will take place on April 22nd at Zen, an upscale Japanese restaurant in West Vancouver, when the card is launched publicly. A simultaneous introduction of the sushi card will occur in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will be manned by SeaChoice representative Rob Johnson with support from the Ecology Action Centre, the Maritime piece of the SeaChoice puzzle.
This event also marks the induction of Zen into the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, a voluntary restaurant quasi-certification system wherein participating restaurants use the Ocean Wise logo to indicate sustainable options on their menu. Zen will be the first Japanese restaurant to join Ocean Wise.
I’m thrilled to see another sushi restaurant getting on the sustainability train. To add to my excitement, I’ve been asked to speak for a few minutes at Zen about sustainability in sushi. My only worry is this: how sustainable is Zen going to be, exactly? I still haven’t seen a copy of the menu. I don’t know if they plan to eliminate unsustainable products permanently, or just for the day. So until I have a few minutes with Zen’s chef, Nobu Ochi, I’m forced to withhold judgment on the veracity of his efforts towards sustainable seafood. I’ll let you know what I find out.