Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Would Fish Disappear?

Japanese food culture seems to be getting increasingly popular around the world, is what I understand from different articles and TV shows lately. Most of what makes it popular comes from the healthiness which I guess we can be proud of, but personally am not too sure of. Certainly, our diet takes in a huge variation of vegetables and fish, and it is commonly known that fish fat is easier on your body than fat from other meat like beef and pork. But has anyone picking up Japanese cuisine gave attention to how salty the food on the whole can be?

Anyway, the amount of sodium is not what I wanted to write about today. Today I want to cast an eye on the fishing industry in relation to the global expansion of diet based on fish.
A couple of nights ago I saw a portion of this TV program called
Spaceship Earth (Suteki na Uchusen Chikyu-go). Its topic for the night was "See the world from the kitchen : sea-bream, blowfish and flatfish are mountain delicacies!?". Well of course, these fish definitely come from the ocean.

The show started with an introduction telling us how Japanese food culture is becoming more and more popular around the world, of how the global diet tendency is turning their eyes on healthiness, and how the stomachs of the world are wanting fish. A prominent example of this is the sudden increase of the demand of tuna, save tuna-eating cultures such as Japan (I know we overfish), and the variation of fish being eaten globally seems to be expanding more and more. If the current situation continues, experts calculate that all the natural (=noncultured) fish would go extinct by 2048.

It is of course important to prevent overfishing, yet it is as important to find some kind of alternative ideas to prevent fish from completely dying out from this world. One of those alternatives a Japanese professor came up with is the invention and development of this mysterious water.

What is so mysterious about the water, you'll know immediately once you see the scene of a goldfish and snapper swimming in the same watertank. It is a water that enables saltwater fish and freshwater fish to swim together. If you see it from the conclusion the fish grown in such environment would be cultured fish, but this mysterious water has characteristics that can save culture fishery from various problems they have today.
First of all, the water composed of minimum amount of kalium, sodium and other minerals prevent fish from being affected by various diseases. Then these elements encourage fast growth of the fish, and cuts down dramatically the culturing cost. In addition, it doesn't limit the location of culture fishing to the ocean meaning in the future, there may appear saltwater fish which its production area is in the depth of mountains.

At the same time of anticipating such future, I fear the destruction of the eco-system. The best way is not to make the future into something that requires these kinds of alternatives, but the question is, is it already too late or not? There's a lot we need to think about: for us, reflect upon the amount we fish because we're definitely fishing more than we can consume - which means waste - and for the others, find out the right amount of supply that meets the demand before they fall into a situation like us.

Speaking of healthy food and Japanese food culture, the daily update on Japan Mode is
Japanese Tea Culture vol.3 - which talks about the three most popular green tea refreshment drinks (canned and bottled drinks) and the Green Tea War in 21st Century Japan.

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