Jiro Ono, of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" fame, recently warned that overfishing is driving the future of sushi to change.
"I can't imagine at all that sushi in the future will be made of the same materials we use today," Ono told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, according to AFP. "I told my young men three years ago sushi materials will totally change in five years. And now, such a trend is becoming a reality little by little."
That reality is reflected in the population of Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish traditionally used in sushi, who now total about 40,000 individuals - a fraction of their historic numbers. There are so few fish, in fact, that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is mulling a ban of bluefin tuna fishing in American waters.
In 1994, journalist John Seabrook argued that the most valuable species on the planet, in monetary terms, was not the rhino nor the leopard but the giant bluefin. Even 20 years ago, Seabrook noted that fishing too many bluefins in the Atlantic, spurred on by the high prices the animals can fetch on the Japanese market, could lead to commercial extinction of these animals.