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November 26, 2009


Laura Zaillian

Wow, Great information! I love sushi too. I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. By the way, i came across these excellent physics flash cards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!

Danna Staaf

Nice piece Diane! But it is worth pointing out that customers and chefs aren't powerless. Asking about fish identity, and avoiding anything that's sold as an endagered species (whether or not it actually is) at least sends the message that customers care. It takes effort, but chefs and restaurant owners can do the research necessary to find out exactly where their fish are coming from.

You should come visit, and I'll take you to Tataki, in San Francisco! http://www.tatakisushibar.com/ Their sustainability guru, Casson, wrote a whole book about sustainable sushi that you'd probably really like: http://www.amazon.com/Sustainable-Sushi-Guide-Saving-Oceans/dp/1556437692/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232011332&sr=8-1

Lara A Ferry-Graham

Hi Diane-

I agree with Dianna. Funny, I just wrote about this in my Think Science column (in our local newspaper) about two weeks ago. Dianna's point was my angle as well. The book is great.


I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with asking the waiter "which species?" It might even encourage a restaurant to find out which species they're selling and avoid species that their customers reject -- that's just good business. But Lowenstein's data suggests that sometimes the restaurant *thinks* they know what they're serving, but they're *wrong*. That suggests someone in their supply chain made a mistake or misled them intentionally. And I'm betting that the longer the supply chain, the more likely it is for that sort of thing to happen. If sushi chefs on the coasts head down to the docks and pick out their fish personally, great! But do chefs in Nebraska get that luxury?

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About Us

  • Diane A. Kelly
    Diane Kelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies the neural wiring and mechanical engineering of reproductive systems.
  • James L. Cambias
    Jim Cambias writes science fiction and designs games in the lonely wilderness of Western Massachusetts.