The Cost of Sushi: Emptying the Seas

They’re known as ’floating goldmines’. In the fish markets of Tokyo, a single bluefin tuna can sell for over €20,000. But the international trend for sushi has pushed this species to the brink of extinction. In the past 40 years, Western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have declined by over 82%. Stocks of many other species of tuna have collapsed completely. Now, it is the Mediterranean spawning grounds that are coming under attack.

For years, Roberto Mielgo, worked for the sushi industry. Now, he is using his in-depth knowledge and contacts to try and protect bluefin tuna. He has developed a network of contacts around the Mediterranean sea that reports to him every suspicious move. Roberto’s data enables environmental organizations to monitor and denounce fleets that exceed fishing quotas.

But millions of jobs are dependent on the sushi industry. If bluefin fishing is banned, these jobs could be lost. From Croatia to Greece, from Japan to the coast of Spain, we investigate the global impact of tuna fishing and ask if there is such a thing as sustainable sushi.


  • Year: 2012
  • Duration: 50 MINS
  • Production: JWP, Televisió de Catalunya, Graphic Productions
  • Available Versions: ENG, ESP
  • Country of production: Spain

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