Nobu to celebs: Please don't eat that tuna on our menu

For years, Greenpeace has been after celebrity-studded sushi joint Nobu to stop serving the endangered bluefin tuna at its restaurants. Last year, the environmental activist group had tuna samples (not labeled as bluefin tuna) from Nobu's three London restaurants DNA tested, and discovered they were, indeed, flesh of the endangered fish. The group demanded that Nobu stop selling bluefin tuna, and wrote that the discovery "means that the celebrity diners at Nobu, the likes of Madonna, David Beckham and Lily Allen, are unwittingly pushing a species toward extinction."

Evidently, not all celebs mind pushing a species toward extinction, not if they can get some yummy sushi in the bargain. Nobu has altered its London menus to read "Bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species -- please ask your server for an alternative." This bizarre behavior has one restauranteur suggesting the tuna (at £32 a serving) is among Nobu's most profitable dishes, and the chain isn't about to give up profit for the good of a species in these tough economic times.
Naturally, this behavior has the rest of the planet (the part with a rice grain of morals) blinking its eyes in incomprehension. As the Guardian's Jay Rayner writes wickedly, "Those with a conscience? Let them eat hake. The rich and conscience-free, meanwhile, can gorge on the soon to be extinct until it's all gone. And would sir like a side order of baby panda with that?" He goes on to write that the bizarre move is so unquestioningly unethical, it's pointless to ask "what do you think?" Obviously, you think it's awful.

Even in New York, where the restaurants' managing partner Richard Notar acknowledge his discomfort with serving the fish, the bluefin stays on the menu. In that city, the menus have been altered only to describe the tuna as "bluefin,"
but don't include a recommendation that customers not order it. He can't stop serving the fish, he says, even though WWF estimates breeding stocks could disappear in just three years, because his Japanese chefs insist upon it.

Environmentalists are comparing the restaurant's choice to continue serving tuna to putting panda or tiger on their menus; but because an international fishing commission has allowed "ruinous quotas," it is legal, though ill-advised, to serve the fish.

All that is left is for the celebrities who co-own and frequent Nobu to step up and say "no more," but to date, none have dared cross the Japanese chefs whose delicacies they covet.

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