Open Letters “NO MO TORO”

16 Jul

We have sent polite open letters to 5 Denver sushi restaurants that we have confirmed carry Atlantic blue fin (A list of who has received these letters is coming soon.) So far we have received no response from any of the sushi bars, not even a (thank you for your concern). We will keep everyone updated on new developments.

This letter will also be posted on our “NO MO TORO” page.

Dear (Denver Sushi Bar),

I am writing to express my concerns about some of the offerings at your establishment. I confirmed recently that your sushi restaurant serves Atlantic Bluefin tuna, one of the planet’s most threatened species. While I understand that toro and maguro from Bluefin is considered to be among the best sushi meat available, I have a hard time understanding how a modern member of our local business community can justify offering an animal for consumption that could very well be extinct in the next 3 to 5 years.

I am a member of a local vegan collective and advocacy group called Plants & Animals Denver. We are interested in promoting a plant-based lifestyle to fellow Denverites, and also hope to affect change when we see an opportunity to help animals. To this end, Plants & Animals Denver are initiating an ongoing public campaign to rid Denver’s restaurant scene of the endangered Atlantic Bluefin. To do so, we will be educating sushi patrons about sustainable seafood, and the plight of Bluefin in particular. We will do this through leafleting outings, expressing our concerns to local media, and identifying Denver establishments that serve Bluefin on our website and social media accounts. It is our goal to make our neighbors more aware of this urgent crisis, and decrease demand for a product whose drawbacks may not be widely known. We hope we can convince restaurants like (yours) to discontinue offering Bluefin tuna.

Ideally, we would love to establish a professional, collaborative relationship with your establishment. Hopefully we can find a way to work together to meet some common goals. As mentioned above, we will be keeping track of 10-12 central Denver sushi bars in an open online database to notify the public of those who still continue business practices we consider to be unacceptable. By providing us with information about your seafood offerings, and hopefully making more sustainable choices, you will give us the opportunity to reflect your business more positively. As animal-product-free consumers, none of us at Plants & Animals eat traditional sushi, of course. However some of us enjoy vegetarian sushi, and appreciate businesses that take steps in positive directions. You can be sure that we will celebrate your cooperation as a sign that you care about issues like ocean biodiversity, endangered species, seafood sustainability, and environmental consciousness.

At your convenience, it would be much appreciated if you could answer the following questions. This is an open letter that we will be sending to several sushi bars around town, and we intend to publish the responses on our website when it is up. If you care not to comment, we will be happy to post that as your response.

1) Do you identify Bluefin Tuna as a threatened species on your menu or by any other means for your customers?

2) Where do you import your Bluefin tuna from?

3) How is it caught (longline, poll, purse seine, troll)?

4) Do the source and catch method of your Bluefin offerings vary?

5) Do you have any plans to acknowledge the issues of over fishing and seafood sustainability (moving to MSC-certified fish, educating customers, etc.)?

Thank you for your time and consideration. We hope you accept this open letter as a sign that you may want to reconsider your sushi offerings. This issue is sure to come to light more and more as Bluefin stocks continue to decrease. Films like The Cove and The End of the Line have begun to permeate the public consciousness along with increased media attention for environmental issues like seafood sustainability. I have listed a few websites below, in case you wish to see where we get some of our information from.

Thank you for helping us save the blue fin!

Sincerely,

Plants & Animals Denver

Blue Ocean Institute: http://www.blueocean.org/seafood/seafood-view?spc_id=234
Seafood Watch:  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_sushi_tuna.aspx
NOAA:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/atl_bluefin_tuna.htm
New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/03/03/03greenwire-us-backs-proposed-trading-ban-on-bluefin-tuna-74803.html

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