Aug 7, 2022
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Yahoo News Japan: The Japanese may be left without a favorite dish

Fresh fish on rice cooked with a little vinegar. Sushi is a national dish loved by all Japanese. But now its availability is under threat, writes the Japanese Internet portal Yahoo News Japan.

“Now salmon is in big deficit. And salmon caviar in general has become prohibitively expensive, ” says Yoshinobu Yoshihashi of Kichizen, which runs a wholesale seafood business at Toyosu Market in Tokyo, Japan’s largest wholesale fish market.

Salmon and salmon roe is a cheap and tasty standard sushi menu that is especially popular among children and women in fast food chains with so-called “sushi conveyors” – the author of the article explains Takashi Mitsumura (Takashi Mitsumura).

Due to the consequences of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, prices for all food products in Japan are skyrocketing. This also applies to the popular sushi dish.

The raw salmon used in Japanese sushi is mainly farmed. Norway is considered the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon. Until recently, the import of fresh salmon to Japan was carried out by direct flights through Russia. This saved both time and money. However, since the end of February, due to the restriction of flights in Russian airspace for foreign airlines, salmon from Norway “travels” to Japan in a roundabout way through the UAE and Dubai.

Not only does such a long “journey” affect the freshness of the product, but on top of that, transportation costs have increased dramatically, taking into account the rising cost of fuel.

Flights carrying fish from Norway have dwindled, and there is already a shortage of fresh salmon for sushi in Japan.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture’s data on import/export of agricultural, forestry and fish products for May 2022, about 80% of salmon and trout imported to Japan now come from Chile (although most of these products reach us frozen). Another 10% (but fresh fish) is from Norway, and the remaining 10% (also fresh) is from Russia. It is clear that the Chilean shipping route is even more expensive than the Norwegian one, the author clarifies.

Salmon is not the only fish that has been affected by the rise in prices caused by the Ukrainian conflict.

“Compared to the time when restaurants were forced to close due to the coronavirus, catering establishments and other establishments are now forced to move frequently from place to place in order to save their costs. Expensive items such as fresh fish are getting more expensive and harder to sell, says Mr. Yoshihashi. – In addition, we have problems because of the complicated relations with Russia, which make it very difficult to get a normal profit. There are fewer fresh fish of Russian origin on the market. Its purchase price has increased. This, of course, is reflected in sales prices.”

Salmon caviar, which is one of the typical ingredients in sushi, is becoming even more inaccessible than salmon.

The fact is that sushi restaurants use caviar obtained from salmon grown in natural conditions, and not on fish farms. The latter is of much lower quality. The bulk of red caviar for sushi came to Japan from Russia.

“Even before the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, we could not catch salmon and trout in Russian waters in sufficient quantities. And recently, in connection with the restrictions imposed by Russia on fishing in response to our sanctions, salmon fishing has completely come to naught. Imports of Russian salmon also declined. In addition, in the past two years, there has been a poor combination of natural and climatic conditions, which have generally reduced the production of salmon in the seas surrounding Japan,”

says Mr. Yoshihashi.

In this regard, the rise in wholesale prices for salmon caviar in Japan is natural.

In Japan, salmon caviar market prices rise sharply in the run-up to December. So we can expect that by the end of this year, the price of caviar will greatly exceed the $60 barrier.

The Japanese eat two types of red salmon caviar – fresh from sushi, and salted as a delicacy. In an interview with us, Mr. Yoshihashi said that Russian salted salmon caviar, which is considered a luxury item, will soon be completely unavailable to the consumer, except in some elite stores, the author sums up.

Our comment: Well, the fruits of the anti-Russian policy are bitter. The Japanese now have to pay much more for their favorite sushi.

According to InoSMI

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