Nobu: the celebrity restaurant still peddling endangered tuna

Posted by Willie — 11 February 2011 at 12:23pm - Comments
Celebrity-favourite sushi restaurant Nobu serves endangered bluefin tuna
All rights reserved. Credit: Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace
Celebrity-favourite sushi restaurant Nobu serves endangered bluefin tuna

This weekend Nobu Matsuhisa, the eponymous chef behind the celebrity-favourite restaurant Nobu, will be in London. For a mere £260 you could enjoy a unique dining experience, apparently. I wonder what’s on the menu. Delicious black rhino, perhaps? Or tasty Amur tiger? Maybe some melt-in-the-mouth mountain gorilla?

It’s not as ludicrous as it seems, because Nobu do serve up endangered species in their restaurants. Bluefin (and bigeye) tuna are cheerfully chopped up for sushi and the perky profits of pushing these species to extinction line Matsuhisa’s pockets, and that of his partner in environmental crime, one Robert De Niro.

Nobu have no excuse. They have known this is unacceptable for years. They claim to be leaders in their sector yet they serve up a species that is internationally recognized as endangered, and the only small concession to these concerns is an asterisked qualification on their London menus (it doesn’t happen in any of their other establishments). At the bottom of the menu it says:

Bluefin tuna is an environmentally threatened species. Please ask your server for an alternative.

Seriously. Go have a look. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I think the wording’s a bit ropey, personally – something along these lines might be an improvement:

Bluefin tuna is an endangered species. Please ask your server why the **** we are still serving it!

The truth is that bluefin is just the tip of Nobu’s environmental problems. They have simply no sustainability policy about sourcing seafood, yet they carry on regardless. In January, a single bluefin tuna sold for £250,000. There is big money in increasingly rare seafood it seems, and Nobu would rather pocket the profits than take any sort of responsibility.

In a world where politicians and profiteers have repeatedly stopped any effective protection of bluefin, now more than ever it falls upon retailers and restaurateurs to be responsible.

In this regard, they are lagging behind most of the UK supermarkets and even sandwich retailers like Pret A Manger. They are staunchly standing by their principles of avoiding having any principles.

But Nobu evidently isn’t getting the message. So maybe he needs to hear it from a few more people.

He’s here all weekend. Why not tell him what you think of him serving up extinction?

Nobu Matsuhisa

Nobu London restaurant
Tel: 0207 447 4747

Nobu Berkeley Street restaurant
Tel: 0207 290 9222



And if anyone at Nobu gives you some crap about how they have an ongoing dialogue with Greenpeace on this issue, feel free to point out that’s just a big fat lie. They know where we are if they do want a dialogue.

Rather than merely complaining, why not phone and make a booking for, say, six or eight, then call them back half an hour before they're expecting you and cancel, giving the reason that you've just learnt they have an endangered species on the menu?

This might have more impact than a simple complaint falling on apparently deaf ears.

that is a pretty damn good idea... We should decide a date as i am pretty sure we need to book well in advance to get a table... What about 1st week of march? Week end will be a good idea too... ?!

Hi Nico

You're taking my suggestion a step further, in fact, to be a coordinated thing.  This would certainly maximise the impact on the given day.  I'd only thought of random dud bookings.  Either/both can be effective.

I have written a polite email which has gone to all three email addresses. I doubt anyone will read it but you never know.

I have also sent a polite email to all 3 addresses.  One lives in hope that

daylight will eventually dawn

I went to Cook & Book in Brussels who also has Bluefin on their menu check

I have written to them and never had a reply.. maybe someone could start a campaign in Brussel too? (I'm in Denmark at the moment) .. Greenpeace what is happening in Brussels at the moment on the bluefin tuna front?

What polite e-mails???

Of course your e-mails will be deleted on sight!

The problem lies with the f*****g consumer!!!!

Not with the morally deprived suppliers & the corrupt politicians on their payroll!!!

The sorry excuses for human beings who will flock to that s**thole are the problem.

[edited for language]

Unless someone actually went a long to a booking with a large group of people and then whilst looking through the menu 'discovering' they cooked endangered species and then the whole table could make a massive scene about it, why they are no longer going to eat there this evening and hopefully allowing everyone else hear about it - putting them off their meal!

GreekForAnimals - I totally get your point, it is just sad that we probably all know people who don't give a crap about the environment or the species that live on our planet because they think 'I'll be dead and gone before anything bad happens'. I don't understand why they don't think of the people that will still be here and how it isn't our god given right to just treat our planet like shit just because they can! Changing those people's mindset about everything to do with conservation is one of the toughest challenges we face.

@ JoSmithCreative

No!! It's even worst than that!! Assuming that even half of those maggots DO have children & their children WILL have children!! See??

@GreekForAnimals - I know, that is the sadest thing, most of the people who do think like that, do have children. It is a selfish way of living on our planet.

Dear all, Why, oh why, must you all focus your thoughts on ridiculous mysanthropic population analysis? I spend 9 hours a day fundraising for this organisation and the majority of people I speak to seem to think we need to cull the human race. Just desist! Why waste time bemoaning the population? If you feel that the population is too large then fine, make a pro-active decision and have yourself neutered and/or euthanised. If you're not willing to make this personal step - then shut up!

[edited for offensive material - see the house rules]

GP Fundraiser

@ GP Fundraiser

Even though you put 'Dear all' in your post, I am hoping that you weren't directing that comment at me :( I was merely making the point that there are people out there who only care for their time and life and not the future of humans, I wasn't meaning to sound as if i was moaning about the human race. I accept that we are all different and are passionate about lots of different things.

It is great that you spend 9 hours a day fundraising for Greenpeace and it is sad that the majority of people you speak to feel that we need to cull the human race. But really, like with most things, it is people's perceptions. I worked for a Union once, and immediately got slapped with the name 'Union Thug'. This wasn't true in my eyes, I was just trying to help improve the conditions of workers in south east Queensland, but it never changed people's perception of me once they knew I worked for a union.

I think this will be my last post as I feel embarressed to have an opinion now. I was really excited about being apart of Greenpeace and sharing in discussions - now I feel my thoughts or opinions are better kept to myself. Keep up the good work with your fundraising.

@ GP Fundraiser

[reference to offensive material above removed]

And, unlike ''JoSmithCreative'', I am not the least embarrassed to express my opinions on the subject!

So you're fundraising for GP, but you 're a staunch defender of the plague which is responsible for the reason why GP & the likes exist in the first place!!

Am I missing something here?? wink wink!!


Have MYSELF neutered/euthanised???? It is painfully obvious that attempting to educate you would be an exercise in futility!!!

About Willie

Hi, I'm Willie, I work with Greenpeace on all things ocean-related

Twitter: @williemackenzie

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