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31 July, 2013

Book Review: The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy

The sushi book is divided into 4 parts. First is an exploration of sushi. How the first Atlantic bluefin tuna were shipped to Japan fresh, how sushi evolved from its fermented origins as a way to preserve rice to the popular forms it is enjoyed in now: futomaki, nigiri, sashimi, and the box sushi which is still a regional fermented delicacy. The second portion of the book looks at the expansion of sushi from a Japanese delicacy into the well loved globally enjoyed delicacy it is today. The book focuses on the introduction of sushi into Los Angeles, and the spread of sushi as a food for first the rich to becoming widely available across the US and into the rest of the world. The third portion of the book focuses on the fishing industry in different ports where tuna is a primary catch crop. How over fishing has decimated wild tuna populations, and how farming tuna has become a profitable option that still depends largely on wild fish. The book ends with a look at the future of sushi. How changes in tastes in other Asian powers such as China may change the purchasing pattern of tuna (both fresh and frozen, wild and farmed), the tuna pirating that is occurring in the Mediteranian, and the effects of trying to propigate tuna in farms rather than catching wild tuna and fattening them on fish farms.

I thought this was an interesting look at the complexities of the tuna fishing trade specifically, and how sushi has increased the demand for this fish worldwide. Since it was written using 2005 and 2006 statistics as the most recent I was left wanting to know more about how what I was reading about was current now in 2013.

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