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Credit: Mr Wabu/Flickr

I can walk 10 minutes in any direction from my apartment building and hit a sushi restaurant. Vancouver is teeming with them. Vancouverites' collective concern for the state of coastal salmon fisheries shows that we're well aware of the threats the ocean's creatures are facing. How to navigate the sushi-versus-conscience battle? I've got a few ideas on the best way to eat sushi:
 

1. With my favourite chopsticks.


Yes! I carry my chopsticks with me. Think about it: no need to pull wood splinters from between your teeth; much less waste; saves trees (China cuts down about 25 million trees every year to make disposable chopsticks); and they’re a great geek-chic accessory. I have a cute yellow woven case for mine, and my roommate, Miranda, has a pretty red pair.


Granville online's sushi guide


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2. Guilt free!


? Worldwide, one in four animals caught while fishing is thrown away as bycatch. ? 90 percent of the ocean’s big fish are gone. ? Fisheries are expected to collapse around the globe in less then 50 years. Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch While some people choose to make themselves sick from all-you-can-eat sushi, I’m more likely to get queasy from hearing facts like these. That’s not to say I don’t love sushi—but for those who are concerned about the state of the ocean like I am, there are several options to make it all go down easier. Sustainable sushi may seem elusive, but it boils down to considering four points: the health of wild populations; how it is harvested; how the fishery is managed; and where it comes from. Produced a hop, skip and a jump down the coast, the Seafood Watch Sustainable Sushi Guide fits in your pocket and considers the four points of sustainable sushi. If you’re going to be seen carrying your own chopsticks, you may as well know what’s being dished up. The guide breaks it down: “best choices,” “good alternatives” and what to “avoid.” Locally, SeaChoice and Ocean Wise offer amazing resources as well. SeaChoice also prints pocket consumer guides, but they have a local focus. For 2008, Nass River sockeye get a green light, but beware of Fraser River sockeye, as it’s to be avoided. Ocean Wise also works with restaurants to get sustainable options on the menu.

3. In a pod… as in a PodMob!


The best way to eat sushi always involves good company. Although having an audience to witness the stuffing of fist-sized pieces of sushi into my mouth could be considered embarrassing and less than flattering, sushi night wouldn’t be the same without it—or the resulting laughter rippling around the table. Recently, I was part of a pod that mobbed a small sushi restaurant on Robson Street. The event was called a PodMob, and it harnessed the purchasing power of us, the consumers, to encourage a sushi restaurant to “go green.” The crowd connected over sustainable sushi and was inspired by the influence they would have on the restaurant’s impact on the planet. Part of every dollar we spent went toward increasing energy efficiency, water conservation and implementing better waste management practices. That’s better for the fish, the climate and us.