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Sustainable Farming Could Help Bluefin Tuna Populations Rally While Satisfying Sushi Lovers

The most popular fish that we eat are often the ones that get overwhelmingly overfished around the world. Such is the case for the bluefin tuna, whose fatty pink flesh has made it a prized gem for sushi and sashimi lovers. So coveted, in fact, that single bluefin tuna have sold for millions of dollars in Japan.

As a result of its popularity and demand, the bluefin population is now at a dangerously low amount that it may never recover from. However, $800 million worth of it is still consumed annually, further putting the entire species at risk of extinction.

Photo: Marc Kharrat//Foodbeast

One might think that farming is a potential solution to help the bluefin tuna, but unsustainable management and environmental concerns from fish waste have produced more problems than solutions in that regard. However, Tokyo trading giant Mitsui & Co. (Mitsui) is looking to rectify that issue. They’ve developed a new form of sustainable tuna farming that could satisfy sushi lovers while letting populations in the wild recover without a massive environmental strain.

Photo courtesy of Mitsui & Co.

To discover this process for ourselves, the FOODBEAST team followed a single fish raised by Mitsui from birth to sashimi. From a laboratory and farm in Southern Japan to a California sushi restaurant, we were able to see how the fish was raised, treated, fed, cared for, slaughtered, broken down, and served.

It’s an eye-opening process that shows just how much TLC goes into raising each tuna, and you can view it in its entirety in the above mini-doc.

Photo: Marc Kharrat//Foodbeast

With Mitsui supplying the tuna to restaurants around the world and New York-based seafood distributor Mark Foods, Inc. supplying the tuna in the U.S., this new sustainable practice could help change the future of tuna farming as we know it, and may one day help get tuna off of the endangered seafood list. It’ll definitely help us eat this sustainable tuna with the conscience that we’re helping save their wild populations by doing so.

Created in partnership with Mitsui & Co

Feel Good Grocery Restaurants What's New

IKEA Adds New Meatball Alternative Featuring Sustainably Sourced Salmon

IKEA’s newest alternative to their classic Swedish meatballs is made with sustainably sourced salmon, but also utilizes a unique process that helps fight against food waste.

Photo courtesy of IKEA

The furniture superstore already carries salmon filets in various forms across its product lineup, so adding a salmon meatball fits in naturally with their existing offerings. What stands out, though, is the process they went through developing the meatball.

IKEA uses salmon certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as sustainably sourced, meaning they have restrictions on feed and pollution while encouraging biodiversity. They then worked with their suppliers to focus on obtaining the meat out of the parts of salmon that often don’t make it as filets. By using this spare meat, if you will, to make their meatballs, it helps to reduce waste in fish production and creates a product with a lower-carbon footprint.

From there, IKEA focused on taste, adding in ingredients like lemongrass and seaweed to produce a fragrant and tender salmon meatball that 80% of test consumers enjoyed. They debuted in Portugal as a test market earlier this year, and the feedback was positive enough to encourage a nationwide launch for the United States as a new sustainable meal option.

IKEA’s new salmon creation is now available in participating locations in the USA, where it joins the lineup of standard, chicken, and plant-based meatballs on the IKEA restaurant menu.