This past weekend, undercover operatives from Greenpeace tested the DNA of fish served in several London-based restaurants that are part of a chain known as Nobu. The restaurants are partially owned by actor Robert De Niro. The tested fish were discovered to be endangered bluefin tuna. In an incredibly stupid response, Nobu’s principal manager has decided to label the endangered fish with an asterisk on the restaurants’ menu, rather than stopping to serve it.
Do I think this response will ultimately be acceptable to the world community? Absolutely not. If De Niro is as good at managing his restaurants as he is his acting career, then the appropriate action for this embarrassing incident should be a no-brainer. But instead, De Niro’s partner has shot them in the foot. [social_buttons]
According to the Telegraph, Richie Notar, the chain’s manager has said that an asterisk will now be put on the menu to aware customers of the fish’s status. They add the following: “Mr. Notar said he would like to take bluefin off the menu altogether, but the move was being resisted by the chain’s Japanese chefs who serve it in sushi and sashimi. In Japan, bluefin is considered the most delicious of all tuna species.”
I guess you have about the same size backbone as the fish you are serving, Mr. Notar.
In fairness to Notar, it is not illegal to sell bluefin tuna. The Telegraph notes on the other hand that “scientists have warned that fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic is taking place at levels far higher than stocks can stand. A crisis meeting to discuss a possible ban on fishing takes place in November.”
My guess is that De Niro’s restaurant chain will suffer a serious decline in business because of Greenpeace’s sting operation. Whether or not the international community is as outraged as I am remains to be seen. Hopefully De Niro will come forward and do the right thing.
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Levi Novey is a conservation professional who has received a bachelor's degree in History from Tufts University and a master's degree in Conservation Social Sciences from the University of Idaho. He worked for the U.S. National Park Service for 10 years, as a park ranger in 6 national parks, as a social science researcher in 5 parks, and as the science communicator for a Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Network that serves 9 parks. He has authored several scholarly papers as well as several guidebooks to U.S. national parks. Levi also has taught an undergraduate Environmental Communication Skills course at the University of Idaho, won several photography contests, and regularly enjoys visits to parks, protected areas, historical sites, museums-- and just about anywhere where he can learn something new about the world. He currently lives in Peru, with his wife Alicia, and their daughter Coral.