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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Sushi: The Global Catch

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July 01, 2011

Movie Review Friday: Sushi: The Global Catch

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday. 

Sushi: The Global Catch (2011)

Limited screenings; available on DVD

"One thing I am sure of: We will run out of tuna sooner than we will run out of oil,” says Mamoru Sugiyama, the chef of Sushiko, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo.

His statement gets abundantly proven in Sushi: The Global Catch, an earnest documentary that explores the consequences of the rising global demand for the Japanese delicacy. A sequence of voices — including those of fishermen, restaurateurs, market-watchers, and educators — help build a compelling story.

That sushi is now served from Russia to Australia and beyond means that the tuna supply is rapidly plummeting. Barbara Block, a Stanford professor who’s one of the world's leading experts on bluefin tuna, seeks endangered status for the species.

Another voice in the film is that of activist Casson Trenor, a partner in sustainable sushi restaurants in San Francisco whose conservation work earned him the title of being one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment.”

“People taking a paycheck from the oceans must be responsible for their actions,” Trenor says in the film, adding, “Corporations follow consumers, and in this case, consumers can choose to learn more and only consume sustainable seafood.”

While traveling, the film’s director, Mark Hall, was amazed by sushi’s popularity in Eastern Europe; he sees the trend as emblematic of how rapidly economies have globalized.  Over the next few years, as China in particular embraces more worldly foods, it’s predicted that there will be 50 million new sushi lovers. Couple that with the fact that Atlantic bluefin stocks have fallen 90%, and it becomes clear why this is an important film.

--Pamela Biery

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