A great animated video explaining why Bluefin tuna are in such trouble. A quick way to get up to speed on the issue, so you can tell your friends why you go for the veggie sushi instead of ocean-emptying seafood. Maybe throw this up on your facebook? Overfishing is most urgent for Bluefin, but really, considering what scientists are telling us, it is pretty clear that we should not be eating any animals from the sea.
No Mo Toro has its first (partial) victories to celebrate. We had a couple of firsts last week with our film screening and demonstration. There are definitely plans to do more of both in the future. We also saw the first signs that our efforts to reduce pressures on Bluefin Tuna populations have had an effect…
Sushi Den no longer serves wild-caught bluefin tuna. They have moved to a new farm-raised variety that has no impact on wild bluefin stocks. While it does not satisfy our goal to have them remove bluefin from the menu entirely, it is a big step in the right direction. It is also an acknowledgement by Sushi Den that serving wild-caught bluefin is not part of a responsible business strategy. They have also stated to us that they only use bluefin for their toro, and that bluefin is no longer used for their other tuna dishes (they use yellowfin and bigeye).
We gave out 100 of these Bluefin fact cards from Seafood Watch on Friday, plus over 100 pocket guides.
Is it because of us? Maybe we cannot claim full credit, but we definitely helped push things in the right direction. Sushi Den management quickly took notice every time we leafleted outside their restaurant. Over the last 8 weeks P&A volunteers have handed out hundreds of sustainable-seafood guides and bluefin informational leaflets. At the No Mo Toro Demo on Friday night we gave out over 200 leaflets and Seafood Watch guides. Our Thursday screening of The End of the Line was well-attended and opened some eyes to the global issue of overfishing. The efforts of our volunteers have created buzz about bluefin in Denver, and that is exactly what we need to make a difference. If you helped with any of these events, came to the movie, or even just told a friend about the problems with eating sushi, thank you. Keep it up.
Our goal for this campaign remains the same: Make Denver Bluefin-Free
We feel that making Denver a bluefin-free city is attainable, and that it is realistically the best way to help save bluefin tuna. If we can get these 5 or 6 restaurants (that still serve it) to acknowledge that removing bluefin from the menu is the best way to help it survive, we will have a powerful statement to make to the world: nobody in Denver thinks it is OK to eat an endangered species. Right now we cannot make that statement. But it can happen. And I think it will.
For now, our campaign continues. We will keep trying to reach out to these restaurants to encourage them to make more sustainable choices. We will still have public outreach events to educate sushi-eating consumers about the importance of making informed decisions. We will continue to do whatever we can to get people talking about bluefin in Denver.
Bluefin Tuna is called “toro” when you pull it out of the ocean and serve its fatty belly meat on a sushi platter. It is also called an “endangered species” when you fish it to the brink of collapse.
The No Mo Toro campaign to make Denver a bluefin-free city reaches a new level on Friday, December 10th with a public demonstration outside the popular restaurant Sushi Den (1487 S. Pearl). Plants & Animals Denver will be on the corner of Old South Pearl St. & Florida Ave. from 5-8pm for an evening of animal advocacy. You are invited to join us, whether it is for 30 minutes or the full 3 hours. Signs and leaflets will be provided for this peaceful and lawful demo. There will be no bullhorns or chanting, nothing disruptive or illegal. This is simply an opportunity to do what governments, fisheries regulators, and the economics of extinction cannot: stand up for bluefin tuna. The more people we get out there, the better. It will be fun and positive.
The goals of this demo is to raise awareness and show our neighbors that we believe in thinking before we eat. We are not aiming to put Sushi Den out of business. We would like them to take bluefin off their menu, but we are not trying to stop anybody from eating there. The unfortunate truth is that most people are unaware of this issue. It is up to grassroots groups like us to help others see that ocean wildlife is not an unlimited resource. Just like plastic does not magically disappear when you throw it in the dumpster, fish populations do not magically replenish themselves when you pull as many as possible from the ecosystem.
If you want to know more about overfishing and bluefin tuna, you oughta come to P&A’s free screening of The End of the Line on Thursday, December 9th at 7pm (the night before the demo). It will be at Green Spaces (1368 26th St., Denver), and we’ll have some vegan vittles for ya.
No Mo Toro, our campaign to make Denver a bluefin tuna-free city, continues to roll on, as it will until our goal are reached. Here is what we’ve been up to. I hope you’ll join our efforts.
Thursday, November 11th: Our third week of leafleting outside Sushi Den saw our numbers grow a bit more. There were six of us out there on one of the first cold nights of the year. We had two corners of the intersection covered, and handed out lots of Seafood Watch guides and bluefin leaflets. We even handed one to an entourage that apparently included Tim Tebow. The manager came out to chat with us again. He was very friendly and polite, and suggested we bring a sign to encourage people to come to us! Good idea- I think we’ll do that… He brought us back a leaflet, claiming that a customer said she did not like having it handed to her. So his suggestion is that we not offer them unless people ask for info. However, I suspect that customer may have only been notifying him of our presence. I have a hard time believing she actually had anything to complain about, as we are always very friendly about giving out information, and never confront anybody or impede them. So, rest assured that we will bring some signs along in the future (see the end of this post), but we know we have not done anything wrong.
Thursday, November 18th: Our leafleting crew was small (3) but effective this night. It was great weather, and I think that brought more people out for sushi. This meant many opportunities to share our cause with the folks on Old South Pearl. In fact, I think we gave out more leaflets and had more meaningful conversations with Sushi Den customers than any previous night. Some folks thanked us for being there, applauded our efforts, and wished us luck with our cause. I have found that people do care about this topic, even sushi lovers. Nobody wishes to drive an animal to extinction just to please their palate. And I believe our presence will continue to spur conversation about sustainable seafood, whatever your definition of that term may be. I was glad to be able to point out to one gentleman that Seafood Watch offers many alternatives to Bluefin in their pocket guide, but the best choice is vegetarian sushi, or no seafood at all.
Business Outreach: Our business outreach guide, entitled Endangered Bluefin: Making Sustainable Choices has been mailed to 5 Denver restaurants so far. These are sushi bars which we have previously confirmed to have bluefin on the menu. Most did not respond to our open letter several months ago, so we hope this new restaurant-specific guide encourages them to join our cause. It provides brief information about the issue, some alternatives to Bluefin, and a call to join the movement to make Denver bluefin-free. We hope these restaurants will soon choose to sign a commitment saying they will no longer serve bluefin. The restaurants included in this mailing were Sushi Den, Hapa (Cherry Creek), Sushi Hai, Sushi Sasa, and Wasabi. We intend to get the message out to other sushi bars (that already choose not to serve bluefin) to see if they support the bluefin-free movement.
Bluefin Demonstration Friday December 10th
Our six weeks of leafleting have been leading up to this. A peaceful and lawful demo to show Sushi Den, its customers, and the public that the ocean belongs to us all. Please join us between 5 and 8pm for some friendly awareness-raising. We will be at the corner of Florida and South Pearl. More details to come. You can help an endangered species. All it takes is your presence. 12.10.10 for Bluefin Tuna!
Plants & Animals Denver are honored to be able to host an official screening of the overfishing documentary The End of the Lineas a part of our No Mo Toro campaign to make Denver a Bluefin Tuna-free city. The screening will be on Thursday, December 9th at Green Spaces (26th + Walnut) in Denver. This will be a free event, and P&A will be providing vegan snacks. 7pm.
The screening is a lead-up event for our planned No Mo Toro demonstration on Friday, December 10th. Come see the film to understand why we are encouraging Denver restaurants to stop serving threatened species, and join us for the peaceful and lawful demo on 12/10. The oceans belong to us all, not just to those who choose to exploit them. Help us save the Bluefin and create a more conscious community.
Tomorrow will be the third week of leafleting outside Sushi Den for our No Mo Toro campaign, an effort to make Denver a Bluefin Tuna-free city. Here’s a recap of the last couple weeks.
Thursday, October 28th: Three of us met at Sushi Den to leaflet from 5-6pm to get the public education component of No Mo Toro started. It was a short session, but we were pleased to find out that we are getting noticed. It had been a few months since we last contacted Sushi Den. They never responded to any of our letters or requests to meet, so we were surprised when the Sushi Den manager pulled up in his car to talk to us! I don’t know if his staff called him, or he just happened to spot us as he drove by, but there he was. He told us that he got the message before, and that we are welcome to be outside the restaurant as long as we do not tell people not to go in. I assured him we were there strictly for educational purposes, and did my best to be friendly and nonconfrontational. I was able to hand him our new business outreach brochure and told him to let me know if he would like to meet to discuss it. It was exciting to see that our presence was noticed so quickly.
Thursday, November 4th: This time we had four volunteers leafleting. Just as we arrived on our favorite corner, a manager-on-duty came out to ask who we were. When I told him we were Plants & Animals Denver, he quickly told us how what we are doing could be misconstrued as harrassment. He said that he read our open letter (sent out in June), and thought it sounded threatening. Surprised by his comment, I assured him that we were only there to hand out educational Seafood Watch pocket guides, not to harrass anybody. I can see how as a business manager, one might feel threatened or harrassed by our friendly leafleting, but I made sure to say we were sorry he felt that way. He said he would prefer that we move to another corner. Since we were not doing anything illegal, I told him we prefer to stay at the corner we were at.
Both sessions were fun, and we had a good response from a lot of people. I would say that a good percentage of passersby showed interest in our sustainable seafood guides, and some even stopped to chat with us about the issue. if you ever choose to join us, you will see how well people respond to a smile and a kind offer of information. People like to know the truth. I’m looking forward to continuing the consumer outreach as well as the business outreach aspects of No Mo Toro. The next leafleting session is tomorrow, Thursday November 11th, from 6-7:30pm. Meet in front of Stella’s coffeehouse and dress warmly. Get in touch with Josh if you have any questions.
Now for that graphic at the top of this post. This image was pulled from Sushi Den’s “Catch of the Day” specials menu for today. This text has been at the bottom of their daily specials for a few months now, just a little while after we sent them our open letter. I haven’t confirmed that they do this now because of our campaign, but I get a feeling that we influenced it in some part. Kudos to Sushi Den for informing their customers of the threats to Bluefin. It is a big step forward. But our goal is get bluefin off the menu. Just like SUSHISAMBA and Sinju Restaurant have done, Sushi Den has an opportunity to join the movement to save Bluefin, despite its popularity. Hopefully we can get all of Denver’s seafood community to see the importance of this issue.
A new documentary shows further proof that attempts to regulate the catch of Bluefin Tuna just do not work. Commissions and governments police quotas poorly. Catches are under-reported, and illegal practices abound across multiple nations. This trailer tells you everything you need to know. If fisheries management doesn’t work, how do we save a species deemed to be delicious and finite in number? I know my answer- what’s yours?
Sushi Samba, a popular restaurant at the Palazzo resort in Las Vegas, is making a decision that many Denver sushi bars have not: they have removed Bluefin Tuna from their menu.
This is exciting news to me, obviously because Plants & Animals Denver has its own campaign to help Bluefin. I remember walking past Sushi Samba the last time I was in Vegas and imagining the trouble you could probably get into for protesting in a casino. I was picturing myself handing out one “Save the Bluefin!” leaflet outside Samba, and then swiftly being dragged to a dark backroom somewhere for a beating. And I would have never expected Las Vegas, the city of sin and self-indulgence, to take the lead in standing up for a tasty endangered species. This gives me hope that we can accomplish our goal someday: make Denver Bluefin-free (by choice, not by extinction).
So wake up Denver sushi bar owners and chefs. There are bigwigs in Vegas who are making more ethical decisions than you… Vegas!
The Atlantic bluefin tuna can grow up to 10 feet and weigh more than a thousand pounds.
We are about a month into our “No Mo Toro” campaign aimed at getting Atlantic bluefin tuna (in it’s many-named disguises) off of Denver sushi restaurant menus. If you’re wondering why we are so into saving a fish, here’s an informative (albeit slightly long) article from the New York Times that explains what is happening to these majestic animals, why they are so important, and more information on the fishing industry at large.