Top sushi restaurant serves endangered species

Press release - 7 September, 2008
A celebrity favourite sushi restaurant in London, Nobu, is serving the endangered species northern bluefin tuna to its 'A' list crowd, Greenpeace DNA testing has exposed.

The tests(1) reveal that the endangered species(2) is being routinely served up in all three of Nobu's London restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred, according to the data analysis contributed by the conservation organisation WWF.

Nobu, co-owned by Hollywood star Robert De Niro (soon starring in 'Righteous Kill')(3), is an international chain of restaurants, frequented by a host of the world's famous, including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Bill Clinton and Elle Macpherson.

"Eating bluefin tuna is as bad as digging into a tiger steak or gorilla burger. It is entirely unacceptable that Nobu, or any restaurant, is serving an endangered species, and it must stop immediately if the species is to be saved from extinction," said Willie Mackenzie, Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner.

Nobu is behind the times in responding to the desperate state of threatened fish stocks that are dwindling due to overfishing. Star chef Gordon Ramsay said he would remove bluefin tuna from menus at his restaurants in Chelsea and Claridge's, and popular sushi restaurant Moshi Moshi have stopped serving bluefin in direct response to the critical situation of tuna stocks in the Mediterranean. Even the prestigious London Sushi Awards, the world's only sushi championship, have taken bluefin off the menu this year.(4)

Europe is the second largest wholesale market for fresh and frozen bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean. Greenpeace investigations have established that Nobu's supplier in London, a company called Atari-Ya(5), source bluefin from the Mediterranean.

Greenpeace is calling for a global network of fully-protected marine reserves covering 40 percent of our oceans, as an essential way to protect marine life and to allow commercially important fish species to recover and thrive. In the Mediterranean, the marine reserves for which Greenpeace is campaigning include spawning areas for the endangered bluefin tuna.

Other contacts: Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International press officer:
+44 (0) 7717 802 891

Willie Mackenzie, Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner:
+44 (0) 20 7865 8253

Notes: (1) Greenpeace tested samples of tuna from Nobu restaurants across London. All but one tested positive as northern bluefin tuna; one sample was inconclusive.

(2) Thunnus thynnus, also known as Northern or Atlantic bluefin tuna, is the most endangered of tuna varieties. All stocks of all species of tuna are fished at full capacity, and many are declining or depleted. Tuna is mainly caught using purse seines or long-lines. These methods are associated with a high unintentional catch (bycatch) of other fish species, as well as endangered turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. In some countries, tuna is being farmed in "ranches". Tuna ranching relies on younger tuna being caught alive from the wild and then kept in cages with artificial feeding. In recent years, ranching has boomed and is putting further pressure on already depleted stocks of wild tuna. See the Greenpeace International Seafood Red List

(3) Nobu in London is owned by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, Meir Teper, Drew Nieporent and Richard Notar. Nobu has 21 restaurants in 16 different cities around the world including London, Los Angeles and Milan.

(4) The Sushi Awards in London, 6 October 2008. The Eat-Japan event started in 2001 and aims to heighten awareness of and engagement with Japanese cuisine throughout the UK with a range of events, promotions and competitions held with the cooperation of over 300 Japanese restaurants across the UK.

(5) Atari-Ya is a division of the Japanese Fishmongers, T&S Enterprises, which sponsors the Sushi Awards and is also the main supplier of bluefin tuna to many sushi restaurants in London.