Katsuo – skipjack tuna

Katsuo – Skipjack Tuna

Source: Wild Mercury Risk: Low Katsuo is one of those Japanese menu terms that can get the average American sushi lover into a bit of trouble. The word corresponds to two different fish: skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis; notice the similarity to katsuo) and bonito (Sarda spp.), a tuna relative in a different and distinct genus. The precise term for…

Kanikama (surimi) – alaskan pollack

Kanikama (Surimi) – Alaskan Pollack

Imitation Crab Source: Wild Mercury Risk: Low Imitation crab (surimi) is used in many types of maki, or rolls. The most common example is the California roll, which generally contains imitation crab and avocado. A fish processor creates imitation crab from surimi: a blend of fish, starch, sugar, and preservatives. This surimi is then formed into long rectangular shapes with…

Saba – mackerel

Saba – Mackerel

Source: Wild Mercury Risk: Low Atlantic mackerel, or saba, is a schooling fish found throughout much of the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the three types of mackerel most commonly found in sushi bars (the others are aji and sawara.) Of the three, saba is the most widely encountered option. Mackerel does not keep well, and if it is not consumed…

Kanpachi – amberjack

Kanpachi – Amberjack

Source: Farmed, some wild Mercury Risk: Unknown In the original edition of Sustainable Sushi, there is only one chapter on amberjack.  Given the growth of the industry and the differences in species, farming techniques, and management protocols, I’ve decided to address these fish on a more individual basis.  So, I’ve split the original chapter into three pages…

Shiro maguro – albacore tuna

Shiro Maguro – Albacore Tuna

Source: Wild Mercury Risk: Moderate Albacore tuna, or shiro maguro, is one of the smallest members of the tuna family.  It occurs in temperate and tropical zones throughout the world’s oceans, and is commonly found in many North American sushi establishments.  Common issues faced by albacore fisheries include high bycatch levels and depleted stock status.  Some…

Shimaaji – white trevally

Shimaaji – White Trevally

Source: Wild, some farmed Mercury Risk: Unknown Lamentably, it’s not easy to find shimaaji in the United States. The sweet delicate flesh of the white trevally, usually labeled on menus as “striped jack,” is often described as a cross between aji and hamachi—a truly succulent combination. If you haven’t tried it, it’s something to experience. But to try it, first you…

Sayori – halfbeak

Sayori – Halfbeak

Source: Wild Mercury Risk: Unknown Sayori, the Japanese halfbeak, or needlefish, is one of the oddest animals ever to grace the sushi counter. With their long slender bodies and what is perhaps the most pronounced underbite in the animal kingdom, this fish looks more like a writing implement than a food source. Even so, the halfbeak…

Mercury in fish

Mercury in Fish

What is mercury, why is it in my food, and why should I care? Mercury is a heavy metal that occurs naturally in our environment, generally in a sequestered or inert state. Over the last century, however, industrial pollution from power plants, waste incinerators, and mining operations have contributed to a pronounced increase in our…