The title of Mark Hall's first feature documentary might be somewhat misleading to all the viewers who got so accustomed to watching artistic, eye-pleasing but not entirely memorable foodie pictures.
Sushi: The Global Catch is not as much about sushi in itself as it is about making people all over the world aware of the dangers caused by excessive fishing capacity for different kinds of fish, mostly bluefin tuna. Though strictly one-sided in the approach to the presented topic, the film does make a convincing and really worrisome point.
What begins as a historical journey into the sushi-making business, deliciously beautified with mouthwatering imagery reminiscent of Jiro Dreams of Sushi
, soon turns into an insightful and earnest commentary on the state of the fishing industry, shown from the viewpoint of many professionals whose growing anxiety and concern, highly visible in all the interviews, brings out a truly serious problem that may very soon result in a complete collapse of underwater ecosystem as we now know them.
Every day thousands of tunas are caught worldwide and sold at Tsukiji Market's fish auctions in Tokyo, Japan. Even though most of them are later delivered and prepared in many local sushi restaurants or sent overseas, there's still an enormous amount that's literally going to waste. Sushi is becoming more popular each year and that's a fact, but what's perplexing is that most people seem to follow a trend, which basically says eating sushi is eating tuna, while other varieties are unnecessarily forgotten in the process. The ever-growing demand for sushi propelled by emerging markets such as India, China, and Latin America only enlarges the already troublesome issue, namely how to save the endangered species while still treating the whole world to enormous amounts of sushi pieces day after day.
One solution, backed by the main arguments exhibited in the picture, is to resort to a slightly controversial method of raising tunas in specific, artificial farms in both Japan and Australia. This solution, so vividly supported by organisations like Greenpeace, is connected to a much bigger idea that bases its core solely on opening more sustainable sushi restaurants, which by their definition don't jeopardize the vulnerable underwater ecosystems.
One example is Tataki, a San Francisco-based sushi restaurant founded by Casson Trenor, main supporter of the sustainability movement. He takes great pride in his contribution to a fight that's meant to save the bluefin tuna before it goes extinct. His optimistic attitude allowed for the movement to spread to other parts of the globe, thus educating the people about the often-forgotten ecological factors that are of grave importance if we want to preserve tuna species and still be able to feast on their savory, delicate, melt-in-the-mouth fatty meat.
Sushi: The Global Catch isn't a vastly penetrating documentary, given that it doesn't really dive into any crucial debates and arrives at a conclusion that's easy to foresee right at the beginning. It stays only on one side of a discussion for the whole time, delivers its downright comprehensive arguments systematically without resorting to any shifts in tone to grab the viewer's attention, yet in the end comes as a thoughtful and instructive, though deeply farsighted and message-oriented film.
Nevertheless, I'm perfectly sure that after watching Sushi: The Global Catch many people will think twice about the consequences of the irresponsible way of eating sushi before ordering the next piece of that delicious tuna nigiri.
If you want to know how you can contribute to the cause, visit the film's official website for more information.
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