Fresh fish is delicous, but make sure it comes from a sustainable source

Last Friday my colleagues proposed to go and have sushi for lunch: here in Italy the religious tradition of fish-on-Friday is still alive. It’s just that I was not very enthusiastic about it. I like fish and love sushi, but something withheld me. Time to reflect on the reason of this.

Close to my work there are not so many food places, so we have to do it with the available choices. Usually I have at least one pizza a week, I like to visit a restaurant with an Italian style menu or I bring my own food which I eat in a place we call a park, but which actually is a piece of grass with some trees and benches. And as I said, Friday usually is sushi day.

In the short period I work here, I went to the sushi restaurant about three times now. Each time however I ordered the freshly made ramen with vegetables. Once I added chicken to that, but the quality seemed so low, that I decided to stay with the vegetables the next times.

When last Friday I did not react very enthusiastic when my colleagues proposed to eat sushi, they thought it was because I did not eat fish. I knew this was not the reason that made me hesitate, but at the same time I could not tell them immediately what is was. It took me a walk down the stairs to make up my mind and explain them my dis-enthusiasm.

The price of a sushi menu is somewhere around ten euros. For a normal lunch in Italy on the higher side, but for a sushi made with fresh fish reasonably low. At least in my opinion. With my background and some (basic) knowledge of the what-and-how’s of the food chain, I know that it is almost impossible to make a profitable business with these prices. At least, when you buy the fish in places that offer fish of a certain quality. And actually you don’t even need to be an expert to understand this. Everyone with common sense and is able to make some simple calculations understands that these prices can’t buy sustainable products.

While walking to the restaurant I decided to start the discussion with my colleagues on this. When I explained my hesitations for the choice they made, they immediately agreed that also they know that it is ridiculous to have lunch for these prices. But they also told me also that the prices don’t change a lot at the other restaurants we eat. And they are right, but then I added that also there the choices I make are as sustainable as I can: I usually order something vegetarian and definitely never order a grilled ‘tuna’ with a side dish for only ten euros. I just know that this can’t be good and it will never taste good to me.

I guess I am at a point in which I cannot ignore the backdrops of the common food system anymore. My choices are influenced by what I know: eating things that are not right give me a wrong taste so I stopped doing it anymore. I hope someday I get some more people to act after their knowledge.

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