Do you like sushi? When you go out to a sushi restaurant, do you ever consider where the fish came from, how it was caught, and what chain of events led it to your plate? If you’re the average consumer, probably not, but Bamboo Sushi CEO & Founder Kristofor Lofgren is aiming to change that!
Lofgren was planning a career in environmental law when he happened upon a failing sushi business. Seeing it as an opportunity for reinvention, he bought out the partners and created Bamboo Sushi, a restaurant modeled on sustainability. Unlike many restaurants that have hopped on the green train only to add an inconclusive pledge at the bottom of the menu, Bamboo Sushi has been designed completely around a web of eco-friendliness. This doesn’t come too soon- in 2010, the United Nations calculated that approximately 85% of the world’s fisheries were either overfished or at their limits. In addition, current commercial fishing methods create enormous wastes of life- for every 1 lb of fish that’s kept, 5 lbs are thrown back, including dead dolphins, whales, birds, sharks and sea turtles. Then, 20-45% of the seafood that makes it to gigantic storage facilities becomes inedible because of improper storage and transportation. Such enormous carelessness comes at huge costs- current rates of overfishing, combined with climate change, pollution and habitat destruction will make our oceans entirely devoid of fish by 2048.
Lofgren is fighting overfishing by changing the consumer’s expectations of fish- he wants eaters to know that sustainably caught, healthy fish feels better and tastes better. All of the fish served at Bamboo Sushi come from plentiful populations and are caught selectively, avoiding ecosystem harm. Bamboo Sushi follows the recommendations of institutions such as the Marine Stewardship Council and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which advise fish consumption decisions based on each species’ capacity. Lofgren also extends his sustainable intentions to other aspects of the dining experience, including using local, grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free meats; 100% renewable energy; reusable teak chopsticks; double-flush toilets; biodegradable to-go containers; composting and more. Further, he uses a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds to support protected marine areas where fishing isn’t allowed, such as the 405,000 acre Berry Islands Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.
As for any nay-sayers who doubt Bamboo Sushi’s implements are cost-effective, the restaurant is doing quite well! They’ve expanded with a 2nd location and were voted one of the country’s best 10 sushi restaurants by Bon Appetit Magazine. Perhaps that proves Lofgren’s point: eating with a conscience is better!
For more information on sushi’s effects on the planet, watch The Story of Sushi (below):
Also, check out Seafood Watch Recommendations for your region of the country!