Transcript: The End of Sushi | Apr 07, 2017

A logo on a black background fades in and reads: "TVO Originals".

Clips show images of a sushi restaurant kitchen.

Tyler says SUSHI IS A CUISINE
WITH A BIG DILEMMA.
IT S NEVER BEEN MORE POPULAR,
YET MANY OF ITS MOST DESIRED
SPECIES ARE CHRONICALLY
OVERFISHED OR SOURCED FROM
FISHERIES AND FARMS THAT DO
SIGNIFICANT HARM TO THE MARINE
ENVIRONMENT.

Clips show images of fishing and fish farming activities.

Alex says IS IT POSSIBLE TO
REINVENT SUSHI BEFORE SOME
SPECIES ARE LOST FOREVER?
OR ARE WE ON THE VERGE
OF THE END OF SUSHI?

The title of the episode appears in white letters. It reads "The end of sushi."

Tyler says HEY EVERYONE, I’M TYLER.
AND THIS IS MY YOUNGER BROTHER
ALEX.

Tyler is in his early thirties, clean-shaven and with short wavy brown hair. He wears a green plaid shirt.

Alex is in his late twenties, with short wavy blond hair and a shadow of a beard. He wears a black sweatshirt with fine gray stripes.

Alex says AND TOGETHER, WE RE THE
WATER BROTHERS.

Clips and pictures show the brothers engaging in different outdoor activities and adventures.

Alex says WE RE GOING TO TAKE YOU ON
AN ADVENTURE AROUND THE WORLD TO
EXPLORE THE STATE OF OUR BLUE
PLANET.
A PLANET DEFINED BY WATER AND
IT’S ABILITY TO SUSTAIN LIFE.

Tyler says SO JOIN US ON OUR JOURNEY
AS WE EXPLORE THE WORLD LOOKING
AT THE MOST IMPORTANT WATER
STORIES OF OUR TIME.

Alex says AND TOGETHER WE WILL LEARN
HOW TO BETTER PROTECT OUR MOST
PRECIOUS RESOURCE.

The title of the show appears against bubbly sea water. It reads "The Water Brother."

Clips show images of a tape recorder, a robot, virtual reality goggles and videogames.

Tyler says IN RECENT DECADES,
JAPAN HAS GIVEN THE WEST A
NUMBER OF INCREDIBLY POPULAR
PRODUCTS AND INNOVATIONS.
AND ONE PHENOMENON
ENJOYING HUGE SUCCESS IN
NORTH AMERICA IS SUSHI.

Alex says OVER ELEVEN THOUSAND
JAPANESE RESTAURANTS NOW EXIST
IN NORTH AMERICA AND OVER SIX
HUNDRED AND FIFTY SUSHI
RESTAURANTS OPERATE IN VANCOUVER
ALONE, THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATION
IN A CITY OUTSIDE JAPAN.

Tyler says SUSHI CAN NOW BE FOUND
ALMOST EVERYWHERE, FROM GROCERY
STORES TO GAS STATIONS,
GENERATING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
IN YEARLY REVENUE.

Alex sits at a restaurant.

Alex gets his sushi served and says THANK YOU.
THE WORLD LOVES TO EAT SUSHI.
IT CAN BE VERY HEALTHY FOR US
TOO, BUT WHAT IF OUR GROWING
DEMAND FOR IT WAS CAUSING THE
OCEANS TO BECOME MORE UNHEALTHY.
WE ARE NO LONGER DEALING WITH A
NICHE EXOTIC CUISINE, SUSHI HAS
GONE GLOBAL, AND MANY EXPERTS
BELIEVE THAT THIS CUISINE IS IN
SOME DESPERATE NEED
OF CHANGES IF WE WANT TO SOLVE
THE OVERFISHING CRISIS AND
PREVENT CERTAIN MARINE SPECIES
FROM DISAPPEARING ALTOGETHER.

A caption reads "Casson Trenor. Founding Parter, Tataki Sushi Bars."

Casson is in his thirties, balding and with a stubble. He wears a sportive black and gray jacket.

Casson says MOST SUSHI RESTAURANTS
UNFORTUNATELY MAKE A LOT OF
CHOICES IN THEIR DECISION
OF WHAT TO SERVE THAT LEAD TO
SOME NEGATIVE IMPACTS
ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
WHEN YOU SELL THINGS LIKE
BLUEFIN TUNA, FARMED SALMON,
HAMACHI, FARMED SHRIMP
YOU COULD POTENTIALLY DO A LOT
OF DAMAGE TO THE PLANET.

Tyler says FRESHWATER EELS,
KNOWN AS UNAGI, ARE NOW
ENDANGERED ACROSS EUROPE,
AMERICA AND ASIA.
YELLOWFIN TUNA ARE PRIMARILY
CAUGHT USING LONG LINES THAT
KILL ANIMALS LIKE TURTLES,
SHARKS AND SEABIRDS AS BYCATCH.

Alex says FARMED ATLANTIC SALMON
RAISED IN THE OPEN OCEAN, HAVE
THE POTENTIAL TO HARBOUR AND
SPREAD DISEASE AND PARASITES
BACK INTO WILD SALMON
POPULATIONS.
EVEN SHRIMP, WHILE NOT
OVERFISHED THEMSELVES,
HAVE CAUSED OTHER SPECIES TO
COLLAPSE BECAUSE OF THE LARGE
AMOUNTS OF BYCATCH THAT GET
CAUGHT UP IN SHRIMP NETS, WITH
AN AVERAGE OF TEN POUNDS OF
MARINE LIFE KILLED FOR EVERY
SINGLE POUND OF SHRIMP CAUGHT.

Casson says PROBABLY THE BIGGEST
PROBLEM, THE ONE THAT MOST
PEOPLE HAVE HEARD ABOUT, OR THAT
WITHIN THE INDUSTRY HAS CAUSED
THE MOST CONTROVERSY IS
THAT AROUND LARGE TUNA,
MOST NOTABLY BLUEFIN TUNA.
THERE ARE FIVE SPECIES OF TUNA
THAT ARE COMMON IN THE SUSHI
INDUSTRY: BLUEFIN, YELLOWFIN,
BIGEYE, ALBACORE AND SKIPJACK.

Images of the 5 species of tuna appear on screen.

Casson says BUT BLUEFIN IS THE MOST
PRESTIGIOUS, THE MOST DEMANDED
AND DEFINITELY THE MOST
EXPENSIVE.

Alex says BLUEFIN TUNA ARE SO
VALUABLE THAT A SINGLE FISH
RECENTLY SOLD FOR NEARLY ONE
POINT EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS AT
THE FAMOUS TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
TUNA AUCTION IN TOKYO.
WHILE PRICES AS HIGH AS A
MILLION DOLLARS ARE LARGELY
SYMBOLIC AND ARTIFICIALLY
INFLATED FOR MEDIA ATTENTION
ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE AUCTION
EACH YEAR, A SINGLE BLUEFIN
CAN REGULARLY SELL
FOR ONE TO TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Tyler says A FEW YEARS AGO, WE
VISITED THE WORLD S LARGEST
FISH MARKET AND SAW THE HUNDREDS
UPON HUNDREDS OF BLUEFIN TUNA
THAT ARE SOLD EACH DAY, TO BE
SENT TO SUSHI RESTAURANTS ACROSS
JAPAN AND THE WORLD.

At a fish market, Alex says IT WAS INCREDIBLE TO SEE
THE SCALE OF THE AUCTION,
HUNDREDS OF FISH BEING SOLD,
SOME OF THE LARGER ONES
BEING SOLD FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS
OF DOLLARS, AND I THINK THE MOST
AMAZING ASPECT HAS TO BE THAT
ALL THE FISH HAVE BEEN SOLD,
THEY'RE ALL GONE NOW, AND
TOMORROW THIS PROCESS WILL START
ALL OVER AGAIN.

The caption changes to "Doctor Rashid Sumaila. Director. Fisheries Economics Research Unit. University of British Columbia."

Rashid is in his forties, bald and clean-shaven. He wears glasses and a white and blue striped polo shirt.

Rashid says LOOK AT THE STOCK
ASSESSMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN
DONE, THAT IS THE ONE GROUP OF
TUNA SPECIES, THE BLUEFIN TUNA,
THAT ARE REALLY IN DANGER.

Tyler says BLUEFIN TUNA ARE
SPREAD OUT GLOBALLY INTO THREE
DIFFERENT SUBSPECIES SOUTHERN,
PACIFIC AND ATLANTIC.

An animated world map shows the spread of the three subspecies.

Tyler says ALL HAVE EXPERIENCED SIGNIFICANT
DECLINES, WITH ONLY FOUR TO TEN
PERCENT OF THEIR HISTORIC,
PRE-FISHING
POPULATIONS REMAINING.
AND AS THEIR NUMBERS
DECREASE, THEIR PRICE GOES UP.

Daniel is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and a moustache. He wears glasses and a blue sweatshirt.

Daniel says ONE FISH SELLS FOR
AS MUCH AS A CAR.
AND SO YOU HAVE ONE TUNA, ONE
TOYOTA, ONE TUNA, ONE TOYOTA.
I HEARD THAT FROM A JAPANESE
FISHER, AND AT SUCH PRICES YOU
CAN HAVE AN EXPEDITION.

Alex says FISHERMEN NOW HAVE TO
SPEND MORE MONEY AND BURN MORE
FUEL TO CATCH EACH INDIVIDUAL
BLUEFIN TUNA, BUT IT S
STILL PROFITABLE.

Rashid says PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO
FARM TUNA, AND ESTIMATES THAT
YOU NEED ABOUT TEN KILOGRAMS OF
THINGS LIKE ANCHOVIES AND
SARDINES THAT MOSTLY POOR
DEVELOPING COUNTRY PEOPLE FEED
ON, TEN KILOGRAMS TO GROW ONE
KILOGRAM OF TUNA.
ECONOMICALLY, THAT MAY BE A
GREAT THING TO DO, BECAUSE
ONE KILOGRAM OF TUNA IS MORE
VALUABLE THEN THE TOTAL IF YOU
JUST LOOK AT THE DOLLARS.

Tyler says AS WE MOVE TO FARM
MORE TOP LEVEL PREDATORS, LIKE
TUNA OR SALMON, IT INCREASES
PRESSURE ON WILD FISHERIES LIKE
HERRING, SARDINES AND ANCHOVIES
WHICH MEANS THERE’S LESS FOOD
AVAILABLE IN THE OCEAN FOR OTHER
MARINE LIFE OR PEOPLE WHO RELY
ON THESE SMALLER FISH AS AN
IMPORTANT PART OF THEIR DIET.

Rashid says WE NEED TO
RETHINK;
WE NEED TO THINK DEEPLY ABOUT
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS?

Alex says MANY POPULATIONS OF
BLUEFIN TUNA ARE SO DEPLETED
THAT THEY ARE NOW LISTED AS
ENDANGERED SPECIES.
YET CONSUMPTION OF THESE FISH
HAS NEVER WAVERED BECAUSE MANY
CHEFS AND CONSUMERS CONSIDER
THEM THE TASTIEST, AND MOST
CLASSIC SUSHI INGREDIENT THAT
SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON THE MENU
OF EVERY AUTHENTIC SUSHI
RESTAURANT, DESPITE THE FACT
THAT BLUEFIN TUNA ARE NOT A
TRADITIONAL SUSHI INGREDIENT.

The caption changes to "Trevor Corson. Author of ‘The Story of Sushi’."

Trevor is in his late forties, with short wavy brown hair and a stubble. He wears a deep green short-sleeved shirt.

Trevor says THERE WAS SOME TUNA
THAT STARTED BEING CAUGHT IN
THE 1800'S AND 1900'S AND WOULD
OCCASIONALLY BE SERVED AS KIND
OF LOW-END SUSHI MEAT, BUT IT
WAS NOT UNTIL JAPAN DEVELOPED
ITS POST WAR EXPORT BOOM, IN THE
1960'S AND 1970'S, AND THIS IS
BECAUSE JAPANESE AIRLINES,
WERE FLYING CARGO PLANES, FULL
OF SONY WALKMANS, AND OTHER
ELECTRONICS TO THE U.S. FOR
EXPORT, AND THEY WERE
FLYING THESE PLANES BACK EMPTY;
AND IT WAS A PIONEERING GROUP OF
CARGO EXECUTIVES, JAPANESE
AIRLINE COMPANIES, WHO WERE
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING THEY COULD
PUT IN THEIR PLANES TO SELL ON
THE RETURN TRIP, THAT CAME UP
WITH THE IDEA OF THE BLUEFIN
TUNA AS A MARKETABLE COMMODITY
FOR SUSHI; AND THIS WAS A
MASTERFUL STROKE OF MARKETING
GENIUS, AND IT WORKED, AND NOW
WE ALL BELIEVE THAT BLUEFIN TUNA
IS THE PINNACLE OF SUSHI.
AND THEY'VE MADE A LOT OF MONEY
ON THAT, FLYING THOSE FISH
AROUND THE WORLD.

(music plays)

Tyler says EVER SINCE THE FIRST
NORTH AMERICAN SUSHI RESTAURANT
OPENED IN LOS ANGELES IN 1966,
THE STYLE OF SUSHI SERVED HAS
CHANGED DRAMATICALLY TO ADJUST
TO THE WESTERN PALATE WITH AN
EMPHASIS ON CREAMY TEXTURES,
SAUCES MADE OF MAYONNAISE, AND
LOTS OF SPICY WASABI, EVEN MORE
SO THAN IN JAPAN.

Trevor says SUSHI'S POPULARITY WAS
DEFINITELY PART OF A HEALTH
FOOD AWARENESS, A HEALTH FOOD
AWAKENING, BUT IF YOU THINK
ABOUT IT SUSHI IS A LOT OF CARBS
STILL: IT'S WHITE RICE MOSTLY,
AND THERE’S ACTUALLY A FAIR
AMOUNT OF SUGAR PUT
INTO THE RICE;
AND THEN THERE IS A LOT OF
THINGS WE CAN TALK ABOUT, ABOUT
ISSUES WITH THE FISH
THAT ARE BEING USED IN SUSHI.
POTENTIAL HEALTH PROBLEMS.

Casson says BLUEFIN IS AN APEX
PREDATOR, AND A LONG LIVED
ONE AT THAT.
ANYTIME YOU RE DEALING WITH
SOMETHING THAT EATS AT THAT
LEVEL OF THE FOOD CHAIN, THAT
MOVES AROUND THAT MUCH AND EATS
THAT VERACIOUSLY THAT OFTEN,
YOU RE GOING TO
HAVE MERCURY PROBLEMS.

An animation shows factory, incineration and mining fumes and a box that reads "80 Hg. Mercury."

Alex says MERCURY CAN BE FOUND
NATURALLY IN THE ENVIRONMENT AT
LOW LEVELS, BUT DUE TO
ACTIVITIES SUCH AS THE BURNING
OF FOSSIL FUELS, WASTE
INCINERATION AND MINING, THE
AMOUNT OF MERCURY ENTERING THE
ATMOSPHERE AND SETTLING IN
RIVERS, LAKES AND OCEANS HAS
RISEN DRAMATICALLY.
ONCE MERCURY ENTERS THE OCEAN IT
IS ABSORBED BY PLANKTON, WHICH
ARE FEASTED ON BY SMALL FISH,
THEN TOP PREDATORS SUCH AS
SHARKS, SWORDFISH AND LARGE
TUNAS AND THEN ULTIMATELY
HUMANS, GETTING MORE AND MORE
CONCENTRATED IN ANIMALS EACH
LEVEL UP THE FOOD CHAIN.

Tyler says ANYONE WHO EATS
SEAFOOD, WHETHER IN SUSHI OR
NOT, SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT
EATING TOO MANY LARGE PREDATORY
FISH, ESPECIALLY YOUNG CHILDREN
AND PREGNANT WOMEN WHO ARE
PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO THE
EFFECTS OF MERCURY POISONING.

Alex says EATING SUSHI
DOESN'T JUST DRAIN THE OCEAN OF
FISH, IT CAN ALSO BE A BIG DRAIN
ON YOUR WALLET, BUT IS THAT
REALLY TUNA THAT YOU ARE EATING?
WE'VE COME HERE TO THE
BIODIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF
ONTARIO, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
GUELPH TO FIND OUT IF YOU'RE
REALLY GETTING WHAT YOU PAID
FOR.

Tyler says THE INSTITUTE IS HOME
TO THE INTERNATIONAL BARCODE OF
LIFE PROJECT, WHERE WE MET
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
DOCTOR ROBERT HANNER.
SINCE 2003, THE PROJECT HAS BEEN
WORKING TO IDENTIFY EVERY LIVING
ORGANISM ON EARTH USING A
TECHNIQUE CALLED DNA BARCODING.
HOWEVER, THEY SOON REALIZED THAT
BARCODING COULD ALSO BE AN
EFFECTIVE WAY TO IDENTIFY
MISLABELLING AND FRAUD IN THE
FOOD INDUSTRY, A WIDESPREAD AND
VERY CONCERNING PRACTICE AMONG
RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS THAT
SELL SEAFOOD.

The caption changes to "Doctor Robert Hanner. Associate Director. Canadian Barcode of Life Network."

Doctor Hanner is in his late forties, balding and with a goatee. He wears gray trousers and a pale blue shirt.

Doctor Hanner says WE EXPECTED
TO FIND A LITTLE BIT OF
SUBSTITUTION IN SOME OF THESE
HIGH VALUE PRODUCTS, BUT WHAT
WE DIDN'T EXPECT TO FIND WAS THE
DEGREE OF MISLABELLING ACROSS
AS MANY DIFFERENT PRODUCTS AND
RETAIL
TYPE OUTLETS AS WE FOUND.

Tyler says COLLECTING OVER
TWELVE HUNDRED SAMPLES FROM
NEARLY SEVEN HUNDRED DIFFERENT
RETAIL OUTLETS ACROSS CANADA AND
THE U.S., THEY FOUND THAT ONE
THIRD OF ALL SEAFOOD SAMPLES
WERE MISLABELLED.
ALMOST HALF OF ALL RESTAURANTS
THEY TESTED WERE SELLING
MISLABELLED FISH, WITH
THE HIGHEST RATE OCCURRING AMONG
SUSHI RESTAURANTS AT A
STAGGERING SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT.

At the lab, Alex says SO BOB, WE'VE BROUGHT IN A
WHOLE WIDE RANGE OF DIFFERENT
FISH SPECIES HERE FROM DIFFERENT
MARKETS AND RESTAURANTS AROUND
THE GTA, BUT BEFORE WE START
TESTING AND FINDING OUT WHAT
THESE FISH REALLY ARE, DESPITE
WHAT THEIR LABELS SAY, WHY DON'T
YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
WHAT EACH SPECIES IS, AND WHAT
THEY RE OFTEN SUBSTITUTED FOR.

Doctor Hanner says SURE, WELL WHEN YOU
LOOK AT THIS PARTICULAR SAMPLE,
THIS LOOKS LIKE IT'S A WILD
CAUGHT FILET OF A PACIFIC
SALMON OF SOME SPECIES, BUT THIS
IS COMMONLY SUBSTITUTED WITH
FARMED ATLANTIC.
YOUR SNAPPER SAMPLE
HERE MAY OR MAY NOT BE SNAPPER,
BUT IT'S COMMONLY SUBSTITUTED
WITH THINGS LIKE TILAPIA, WHICH
YOU KNOW, AT FIRST BLUSH, CAN
LOOK PRETTY SIMILAR.

Alex says YEAH I MEAN TO THE
UNTRAINED EYE, THESE LOOK LIKE
JUST A WHITE FILET OF FISH.

Doctor Hanner says YEP, ONCE WE'VE
STRIPPED AWAY THE MORPHOLOGICAL
IDENTIFIERS, YOU KNOW IT'S
EXTERNAL FEATURES, IT CAN BE
REALLY HARD TO TELL, AND THAT'S
WHERE WE REALLY BENEFIT FROM THE
USE OF DNA TOOLS.

Alex says AND WE'VE BROUGHT IN SOME
SUSHI SAMPLES OF COURSE, THIS
ONE ON THE LEFT HERE IS SUPPOSED
TO BE SNAPPER, AND I KNOW THAT
SNAPPER WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS
A BIG PART OF YOUR STUDY,
WHAT DID YOU FIND ABOUT SNAPPER
THAT REALLY STOOD OUT TO YOU?

Doctor Hanner says THAT WAS THE MOST
MISLABELLED FISH OF ANY SORT OF
MARKET NAME THAT WE TESTED.

Tyler says IN THEIR 2012 STUDY,
EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT OF ALL
SNAPPER SAMPLES THEY TESTED WERE
MISLABELLED, WITH THE SECOND
HIGHEST RATE OF MISLABELLING
FOR ANYTHING LABELED TUNA AT
FIFTY-NINE PERCENT.

Doctor Hanner says HERE IN NORTH
AMERICA, ANY TUNA SPECIES CAN BE
SOLD UNDER THE COMMON MARKET
NAME TUNA, OF COURSE THINGS
LIKE GIANT BLUEFIN TUNA COMMAND
A MUCH, MUCH HIGHER PRICE THAN
YELLOWFIN FOR EXAMPLE.

Tyler says ONE OF THE MOST
ALARMING FORMS OF MISLABELLING
THEY UNCOVERED WAS AMONG SUSHI
RESTAURANTS SELLING
WHITE TUNA WHICH ALMOST
ALWAYS TURNED OUT
TO BE A FISH CALLED ESCOLAR, A
TYPE OF MACKEREL THAT IS KNOWN
TO CAUSE SEVERE STOMACH ILLNESS
AND DIARRHEA.

A side by side comparison of cuts of Albacore tuna and escolar appear on screen. Whereas the tuna is pale pink with red stripes, the escolar is completely white.

Alex says SO, IT'S NOT JUST HURTING
YOU IN YOUR WALLET POTENTIALLY
WITH THE SEAFOOD FRAUD PROBLEM,
IT'S ALSO AN
ACTUAL HEALTH CONCERN?

Doctor Hanner says SURE,
AND IN THE MOST EGREGIOUS CASES,
WE'VE SEEN PEOPLE POISONED WHEN
THEY BOUGHT WHAT THEY THOUGHT
WAS MONKFISH IN A MARKET, AND IT
TURNED OUT TO BE A KIND OF
PUFFERFISH, WHICH IS OF COURSE
TIGHTLY REGULATED, CONTAINS
TETRODOTOXIN WHICH IS A VERY
POTENT POISON.

Alex says WELL THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY
TO FIND OUT FOR SURE IF WHAT WE
HAVE HERE IS REALLY WHAT THE
LABELS SAY, SO LET'S
GET TESTING.

Doctor Hanner says YEAH, LET'S GET
THE STUDENTS TO BARCODE THEM.

Alex says WHEN THE RESULTS
CAME BACK,
OUR WHITE TUNA SUSHI WAS IN
FACT ESCOLAR, AND THE
RED SNAPPER SUSHI CAME
BACK AS A TYPE OF FISH CALLED
JAPANESE SEA BREAM.
IT’S A WAKE UP CALL TO CONSUMERS
AND IT GOES WAY BEYOND
NORTH AMERICA.

Doctor Hanner says THE FINDING OF
SUCH HIGH LEVELS,
IN SUCH A PERVASIVE LEVEL OF
FRAUD WAS FRUSTRATING FOR ME,
BUT TO THEN HAVE COLLEAGUES
REPLICATE
THE STUDIES
THAT WE HAD DONE HERE IN
NORTH AMERICA, AROUND THE WORLD
AND SHOW THAT THIS PROBLEM WAS
SYSTEMIC IN THE MARKET GLOBALLY
WAS A REAL EYE OPENER.
IF WE WANT TO FERRET OUT THIS
PROBLEM AND CORRECT IT,
WE HAVE TO BE TESTING AT
MULTIPLE POINTS IN THE SUPPLY
CHAIN, OR DEVELOPING
CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS AND
ACTUALLY DEMANDING MORE OF THIS
KIND OF TESTING BEING DONE, IF
WE WANT TO CLEAN UP THIS
PROBLEM.
AND I THINK FOR THE HEALTH OF
OUR OCEANS, OURSELVES, AND OUR
WALLETS THERE’S GOOD REASON TO
DO THAT.

Tyler says BECAUSE ALMOST ALL
SUSHI IS PURCHASED AT
RESTAURANTS, CHEFS WILL HAVE TO
BECOME MUCH BETTER AT ENSURING
WHAT THEY SERVE IS AUTHENTIC AND
RESPONSIBLY SOURCED.
THANKFULLY, THERE IS A SMALL BUT
GROWING MOVEMENT OF CHEFS WHO
ARE COMMITTED TO MAKING SUSHI
THAT IS BOTH GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH
AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
IN NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT WE MET
BUN LAI, CHEF AND CO-OWNER OF
MIYA’S, THE FIRST SUSTAINABLE
SUSHI RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD.

Alex says INSTEAD OF YOUR
TYPICAL MENU OF FARMED SALMON,
SHRIMP, EEL AND TUNA,
ALL THE SUSHI AT MIYA’S IS
EITHER PLANT AND INSECT BASED OR
MADE WITH CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE
SEAFOOD INGREDIENTS.
AND ONE OF THEIR NEWEST
INNOVATIONS HAS BEEN TO DEDICATE
A PORTION OF THEIR MENU TO SUSHI
MADE WITH INVASIVE SPECIES.

The caption changes to "Bun Lai. Chef. Miya’s Sushi."

Bun is in his thirties, with straight black hair and a petit goatee. He wears jeans and a pale gray T-shirt.

Bun says HABITATS ARE CONSTANTLY
BEING BOMBARDED BY INVASIVE
SPECIES, RIGHT?
AND THE LAWN AND THE GARDEN IS
NO DIFFERENT.
THE DIFFERENCE IS OUR APPROACH
IS GOING TO BE NOT ABOUT
DESTROYING MANY OF THESE
INVASIVE SPECIES, BUT KIND OF
USING THEM IN OUR FAVOUR BY
HARVESTING THEM AS FOOD.

Tyler says INVASIVE SPECIES ARE
ANY PLANTS AND ANIMALS THAT ARE
INTRODUCED OR SPREAD TO AN AREA
THEY ARE NOT NATIVE TO,
CAUSING HARM TO THE ENVIRONMENT
OR ECONOMY.
OVER FIFTY THOUSAND INVASIVE
SPECIES NOW LIVE ACROSS THE U.S.
AND CANADA, COSTING AN AVERAGE
OF OVER ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY
BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR IN
DAMAGES AND CONTROL MEASURES.

An animated map shows the invasive species across North America.

Alex says TO RAISE AWARENESS
ABOUT THIS MASSIVE PROBLEM
AND HELP REDUCE POPULATIONS OF
CERTAIN INVADERS, BUN HAS
INCORPORATED SEVERAL INVASIVE
SPECIES INTO HIS SUSHI MENU,
INCLUDING WEEDS THAT GROW
WILD RIGHT IN HIS OWN BACKYARD
SUCH AS AMARANTH, MUSTARD
GARLIC, DANDELION AND MUGWORT.

Bun says NOTHING THAT WE RE
HARVESTING RIGHT NOW, ARE PLANTS
THAT WE PLANTED OURSELVES.

Alex says IT'S ALL JUST WEEDS THAT
HAVE APPEARED, THAT OTHER PEOPLE
WOULD HAVE GOTTEN RID OF.

Bun says IT'S A HUGE WASTE.

Alex says YEAH, A MISSED
OPPORTUNITY.

Tyler says BUN’S INTEREST AND
PASSION FOR INCORPORATING
INVASIVE SPECIES INTO SUSHI
STARTED BY THE OCEAN;
SPECIFICALLY WITH A
PROLIFIC INVADER KNOWN AS
THE ASIAN SHORE CRAB THAT
ARRIVED IN THE U.S. IN SHIPS
BALLAST WATER IN THE LATE 1980’S
AND HAS SINCE SPREAD ALONG MUCH
OF THE EASTERN SEABOARD.

On a beach, Bun says SO FOR ASIAN SHORE CRABS,
WE LOOK FOR LOOSE ROCKS.
IF THE ROCKS ARE DEEP UNDER THE
SAND THEY RE NOT GOING TO BE
UNDERNEATH THERE.

Alex says OH OKAY, THEY HAVE TO
BE ABLE TO CRAWL UNDER THEM.

Bun says EXACTLY,
I THINK I SEE ONE.
YEP, JUST A GUESS BUT

THERE’S MAYBE A LITTLE
TOO MUCH SPACE UNDERNEATH.

Bun lifts a rock.

Alex says OH YEAH.

Bun says THERE IT IS,
YOU CAN GRAB IT.
YEAH.
ALL RIGHT.

Alex puts the crab in a bucket and says FIRST ONE.

Bun says CONGRATULATIONS,
YEAH BROTHER.

Alex says THANK YOU.

Bun turns another rock and says WHOA!

Alex says THERE WE GO.

Bun says THAT’S A LOT AND THEY
ARE SO FAST.

Alex says THEY WON’T LET GO!

Bun says WHOA! MAN!

Alex says THE MOTHER LOAD!
ALRIGHT,
(LAUGHING)
THAT WAS AWESOME.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE ASIAN
SHORE CRABS; WHAT MAKES THEM
SUCH A DANGEROUS INVASIVE
SPECIES?

Bun says IT'S BELIEVED THAT
ASIAN SHORE CRABS EAT THE LARVAE
OF CLAMS AND OYSTERS, AND CLAMS
AND OYSTERS ARE A BIG INDUSTRY
HERE IN CONNECTICUT.
SO THEY RE COMPETING WITH NATIVE
SHELLFISH AS WELL.

Alex says WHEN DID YOU FIRST COME UP
WITH THE IDEA TO EAT
THESE THINGS?

Bun says ABOUT A DOZEN YEARS
AGO, WE PREPARED THESE IN A
WHOLE BUNCH OF DIFFERENT WAYS
INCLUDING EATING IT RAW,
WHICH WASN'T VERY GOOD.
VERY PRIMAL.
DO YOU WANT TO TRY ONE OF THESE
RAW TOO?
NAH, I’M JUST KIDDING.
(ALEX LAUGHING)
I KNOW YOU D DO THAT.

Alex says I'D DO IT.

Bun says I KNOW YOU WOULD,
YOU WERE ACTUALLY
THINKING ABOUT IT.

Tyler says BUN ALSO HARVESTS
MANY LOCAL AND NATIVE SEAFOOD
SPECIES, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT
ARE LOW ON THE FOOD CHAIN SUCH
AS SEAWEED; SHELLFISH
AND SMALL FISH LIKE SMELT.

Bun and Alex goes net fish near the shore.

(MELLOW GUITAR MUSIC)

Bun says SO I'VE BEEN CATCHING
SMELT SINCE I WAS A KID,
EXACTLY THE WAY WE DID IT TODAY,
AND THEY RE NOT VERY POPULAR.
YEAH, YOU WON'T SEE THEM AT ANY
SUSHI RESTAURANT FOR SURE.

Alex says WHAT'S THE ADVANTAGE
SUSTAINABILITY-WISE WHEN WORKING
WITH SMALL FISH?

Bun says WELL, SMALL FISH ARE
ABUNDANT, THEY MATURE REALLY
QUICKLY AND HAVE MANY, MANY
OFFSPRING, AND THEY DON'T HAVE
THE CONTAMINANTS THAT BIG FISH
ACCUMULATE.
THIS IS JUST A FAR BETTER
ALTERNATIVE THEN WHAT WE
NORMALLY EAT IN THE CUISINE OF
SUSHI.

Alex says AND THESE THINGS
ARE JUST PACKED FULL OF FLAVOUR?

Bun says THEY ARE, YEAH.
(CHATTING)

At the restaurant, Alex says WE'VE JUST FINISHED
FORAGING FOR INVASIVE SPECIES
AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR US TO
LEARN HOW TO MAKE SUSHI.

Alex says ALRIGHT BUN, WELL IT'S AN
HONOUR TO BE BACK HERE,
BUT I’M JUST GOING TO WARN YOU
I’VE NEVER MADE SUSHI BEFORE.

Bun says WELL THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU
SAID ON YOUR APPLICATION.
WELL IT JUST TURNS OUT THAT
SUSHI IS ONE OF THE EASIEST
THINGS TO MAKE.

Alex says REALLY?

Bun says YEAH ABSOLUTELY, THIS
IS THE KIND OF SUSHI THAT PEOPLE
USED TO MAKE THOUSANDS OF YEARS
AGO, JUST USING WILD
INGREDIENTS, MOST OF WHICH YOU
FORAGED YOURSELF, SO ALL YOU'RE
GOING TO DO IS EMULATE ME.

Alex says OKAY, I’M JUST GOING TO
TRY MY BEST TO KEEP UP.

Bun says THE INGREDIENTS THAT WE RE
USING ARE MUCH MORE FLAVOURFUL
BECAUSE THEY RE WILD.
SO HERE ARE THE DANDELIONS
THAT YOU PICKED, AND I’M JUST
GOING TO BRUSH THE WILD SEAWEED
DRESSING THAT WE MADE ONTO IT.
THIS IS CALLED NIGIRI SUSHI,
AND NOW WE RE GOING TO PUT
THE LEAF RIGHT ON THE RICE.
THIS IS ANCIENT TOKYO-STYLE
SUSHI AND WE RE GOING TO TAKE A
LITTLE BIT OF SEAWEED AND
LITERALLY WRAP IT AROUND,
JUST LIKE THIS.
PERFECT, SO THAT GOES RIGHT ON
THERE.

Alex says SO YOU'VE JUST REPLACED
WHAT WOULD NORMALLY
BEEN FISH WITH -

Bun says WITH A WILD PLANT THAT IS
EXPONENTIALLY MORE NUTRITIOUS
THAN ANY ORGANIC
VEGETABLE THAT YOU CAN GET.
PEOPLE LITERALLY PUT FIVE
BILLION POUNDS PESTICIDES INTO
OUR GROUND AND INTO OUR WATER
SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO GET RID OF
WEEDS, WEEDS THAT ARE OFTEN
ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS AND
NUTRITIOUS AT THE SAME TIME.
BEFORE SUSHI BECAME LIKE THIS,
WHICH IS CALLED NIGIRI SUSHI,
WHICH IS TOKYO-STYLE SUSHI,
SUSHI WAS LITERALLY LIKE THIS,
JUST A BALL WITH RICE, A LITTLE
BIT OF VINEGAR IN IT AND A PIECE
OF SEAFOOD THAT WAS PICKLED, IN
A TIME WHEN THERE WAS NO
REFRIGERATION, SO YOU’D GET YOUR
PROTEIN THAT YOU WANT, OR OTHER
NUTRIENTS FROM PLANTS, THEN
YOU’D ALSO GET
YOUR CARBOHYDRATES.

Alex says I THINK MY BALL HAS
COMPLETELY FALLEN APART ON ME,
SO I DON'T KNOW.

Bun says THAT S ACTUALLY -
THERE S SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
ABOUT IMPERFECTION, SO THAT'S
ALL RIGHT, YOU CAN PUT IT RIGHT
THERE.
WE'LL CHARGE EXTRA FOR
THAT ONE.

Alex says THAT'S FOR TYLER, THAT
ONE'S FOR TYLER.

Bun says GOOD, ALRIGHT, SO IT S LIKE
MORE LIKE A PYRAMID.

Alex says THERE WE GO,
JUST IMPROVISE ON THE FLY.

Tyler says IN MANY WAYS, BUN S
CREATIONS REFLECT THE TRUE
ORIGINS OF SUSHI, WHEN
INGREDIENTS WERE ALMOST ALL
LOCALLY SOURCED, AS OPPOSED
TO THE GLOBALIZED SUSHI INDUSTRY
TODAY WHERE VAST AMOUNTS OF FISH
ARE HARVESTED OR FARMED IN ONE
CORNER OF THE WORLD, TO FEED
PEOPLE IN ANOTHER WHO ARE
COMPLETELY DISCONNECTED FROM THE
SEAFOOD THEY ARE EATING.

Bun says THE CUISINE OF SUSHI IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR A LOT OF THE
OVERFISHING OF THE OCEANS,
BECAUSE WE RE GOING AFTER
POPULAR SPECIES AND DECIMATING
THEM, SO WHY NOT GO AFTER
SPECIES THAT NO ONE WANTS TO EAT
OR SPECIES THAT LITERALLY
PROCREATE INCREDIBLY FAST LIKE
THE SMELT.

Alex says AS DEMAND FOR SUSHI
CONTINUES TO RISE IN RAPIDLY
GROWING MARKETS SUCH AS CHINA,
THERE IS NO SIGN THAT THESE
OVERFISHING PROBLEMS WILL
EVER GO AWAY UNLESS WE BEGIN TO
REINVENT THIS CUISINE.

Bun says SO WE RE DONE OVER HERE SO
LET'S SERVE OURSELVES.

Alex says HOW DID I DO OVERALL, FOR
MY FIRST TIME?

Bun says I LIKE YOURS BETTER THAN
MINE; IT S WAY BETTER THEN WHEN
I FIRST STARTED.

Alex says OKAY.

(piano music plays)

A variety of sushi appears on screen.

A caption reads "Kanibaba Roll with Invasive Asian Shore Crab."

The caption changes to "Catfish Blues Roll with Invasive Blue Catfish."

The caption changes to "Crickleberry Brie Roll with Farmed Crickets."

The caption changes to "Voompa Al-Salam. Vegan Sushi Roll."

The caption changes to "Carp Teriyaki with Invasive Asian Carp."

The caption changes to "One-Eyed Carp Monster with Invasive Asian Carp in Curry Sauce."

Bun, Alex and Tyler sit down to eat.

Bun says I SPENT MY ENTIRE
CAREER HAVING PEOPLE LOOK AT THE
MENU AND WALK OUT.
MAYBE LIKE TWO OR THREE GROUPS
OF PEOPLE EVERY SINGLE DAY,
SO YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MAYBE
EIGHT HUNDRED TO A THOUSAND
PEOPLE A YEAR WALKING OUT
BECAUSE WAIT, THERE IS NO TUNA
ON THE MENU, OR THERE’S NO
SHRIMP.

The caption changes to "Tempura Weed Chee with Invasive Japanese Knotweed."

The caption changes to "Sakura Sashimi. Beet infused Invasive Asian Carp."

Bun says WHAT WE RE TRYING TO DO OVER
HERE IS CHANGE PEOPLE'S
PERSPECTIVES, ON THE WAY WE
CHOOSE TO EAT AND LIVE.

Tyler says THAT'S WHAT SURPRISES
ALEX AND I SO MUCH, IS THAT
THESE DISHES ARE SO DELICIOUS
LIKE HOW IS EVERYONE NOT ALREADY
EATING THIS AND ENJOYING THIS
AMAZING FOOD.

Bun says WHAT WE RE DOING BY EATING
THIS IS LITERALLY CHANGING THE
CULTURE OF EATING, YOU KNOW
BECAUSE WE'LL START OVER HERE,
AND OTHER CHEFS AND PEOPLE
WILL START EMULATING IT AS WELL.
PLANT-BASED SUSHI IS REALLY BIG
NOW AND WE STARTED WORKING ON IT
TWENTY YEARS AGO.

Alex says IN 1995, MIYA’S SERVED
THE VERY FIRST SWEET POTATO ROLL
AND TODAY, VARIATIONS OF IT CAN
BE FOUND ON
SUSHI MENUS EVERYWHERE.
SUSHI IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND
CHEFS LIKE BUN ARE HELPING TO
LEAD A SUSTAINABLE SUSHI
MOVEMENT, AND NEW RESTAURANTS
ARE POPPING UP RIGHT ACROSS
NORTH AMERICA.

Images of different sushi restaurants appear.

The caption changes to "The Raw Bar. Vancouver, British Columbia."

The caption changes to "Shizen. San Francisco, California."

Bun says IT'S REALLY AN
EXAMPLE OF HOW LITTLE PEOPLE
LIKE OURSELVES, CAN MAKE
REALLY BIG CHANGES, YOU KNOW.
NASDROVIA, L CHAIM! KAMPAI!

They make a toast and drink.

Alex says WE CANNOT SOLVE THE
OVERFISHING PROBLEM UNLESS
WE CHANGE THE SEAFOOD WE
CHOOSE TO EAT.
AND BECAUSE TODAY SO MUCH OF
OUR SEAFOOD IS CONSUMED AS SUSHI
IT'S ONE OF THE BEST WAYS
TO BEGIN THIS TRANSITION.

Tyler says IT S POSSIBLE TO GET ALL
THE HEALTH BENEFITS AND THE
AMAZING TASTES AND TEXTURES
OF SUSHI WITHOUT DOING HARM
TO THE OCEAN.

Alex says THIS ISN'T THE END OF
SUSHI; WE BELIEVE IT'S SIMPLY
THE BEGINNING OF A SUSHI
REVOLUTION.

Tyler says JOIN US AND DIVE
DEEPER INTO THE EPISODES AT
THEWATERBROTHERS.CA
(MOUSE CLICK)
(END THEME MUSIC)

The end credits roll.

Executive Producer, Jonathan Barker.

Producer, Wendy Mackeigan.

Host, Director and Co-producer, Tyler Mifflin.

Host, Writer and Co-Director, Alex Mifflin.

Produced with the assistance of Canada Media Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation, The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit and Bell Fund.

Produced in association with TVO.

An SK Films production.

Copyright 2017, Water Brothers Inc.

Watch: The End of Sushi