In the upcoming Vanguard episode “Sushi to the Slaughter,” correspondent Adam Yamaguchi investigates the endangerment of the Bluefin tuna thanks to its growing success as a worldwide delicacy. A 2010 UN study estimated that oceans could be depleted of all fish in 40 years. Overfishing currently depletes fish stocks much faster than the population is replenished, thanks in part to the ever-increasing demand for sushi. Bluefin tuna sits at the top of the list of species most desired.
A sushi consumer since childhood, Adam has decided to go on a journey to find out exactly why the Bluefin has become the king of sushi, how quality is produced and sold, and where the sushi industry is headed now.
His investigation takes him from Los Angeles through New England, and all the way to Japan. Each day this week, current.com has released a new dispatch from Adam’s research in the field.
In Cape Cod, Adam sailed out with a crew to try to catch a Bluefin tuna first hand. He was challenged to help wrangle any catches to make sure they were pulled onto boat.
From there, following the Bluefin tuna trail took Adam to Japan. He visited a factory where Bluefin gets cleaned, cut, checked for quality, and packaged.
He learned that the meat from a high-quality tuna can easily be sold for $85 per kilogram. It’s not unusual to see one massive Bluefin tuna to sell for $30,000.
Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, the largest seafood market in the world, has a reputation for being loud and hectic that much money and business constantly moving through it. Adam found himself in the way of traffic even while visiting the market during early morning hours.
Japan was so wrapped up in the sushi business that Adam even found a nail salon where accessories for manicures include tuna roll and sashimi replicas.
But just how much money does the sushi industry make regularly? What does the constant business mean for the Bluefin tuna population across the globe? Can the sushi industry be sustained at this rate?
Watch “Vanguard” to find out what Adam uncovers about the real cost of good sushi. Tune in Monday, July 11 at 9/8c to see the premiere of “Sushi to the Slaughter.”