Thursday, 27 May 2010

Spam sushi anyone? It's popular in Hawaii and, with news Abu Dhabi will use technology developed at Japan's Kinki University to farm tuna, an analogue may become prized in the Middle East as well. The reason is that farmed tuna doesn't taste good, according to sushi chef Kazuo Sato.

Farmed tuna's disadvantage is that "it doesn't have a fish taste, and its color is almost white," said Kazuo Sato, 56, who has run a sushi shop outside Tokyo for 31 years.

Of course, Sato-san could be a hard-core purist, one of those people who are usually more polite than a tea spoon unless asked to question one of their dearest beliefs, whereupon they scoff more loudly than a boiling kettle.

Mike Hirshfield, chief scientist at Oceana, an advocacy group for the world's oceans, makes the solid point that it's a terrible waste of good fish to use it to fatten baby tuna for the consumption of Sato-san's complacent customers.

So Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc., Japan's biggest seafood company, comes to the aid of these upstanding citizens. The company plans to use fish-meal sausages to feed the ravenous tuna circling like slimy sheep around the enclosures they inhabit off the Japanese coast. "Eventually, Maruha hopes to develop a vegetarian tuna feed," writes The Japan Times' Yuri Kageyama.

Yikes. Would you want to eat farmed tuna that has been fed vegetarian sausages maybe "mixed with oils and nutrients"? Anything is acceptable, it seems, as long as the Japanese will be allowed to eat tuna.

Considering that it took the government there 60 years to start adequately compensating Minamata disease sufferers, there's little hope that the Abu Dhabi deal won't lead to other countries looking to "alleviate stress on natural fish stocks and improve food security" by seeking ties with Kinki University's industrious (and patient - they've been working on it since the 1970s) researchers.

Meanwhile, pregnant women are advised not to eat tuna sushi due to the high levels of mercury it contains. Gah!

Pic credit: News of the Restless.

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