The BP oil spill that’s devastating the seafood industry in the Gulf Coast region isn’t yet affecting Oregon’s sushi restaurants.
"We source our fish mainly from Japan and Canada,” says Seiji Takahashi, owner of The Takahashi in Southeast Portland. “There are some [price] increases in shrimp right now, but these are normal for the summer months.”
Takahashi also says he doesn’t plan to raise prices. “Changing the menu prices would be too much hassle,” he says.
Jae Kim, owner of both Miso Sushi Teriyaki and Sushi Station in Eugene, agrees. “Normally, summer prices are a little bit higher for yellowfin tuna,” he says. “But we get our shrimp mostly from Thailand.”
“All of our shrimp are caught in the winter,” says Brandon Hill, head chef of Bamboo Sushi in Portland. “So far we haven’t used up all of our supplies, but we’ve already started the processes for finding new and better sustainable methods for sourcing our fish.” He also says any extra costs wouldn’t be passed onto the customer.
“Most of the fish we buy comes from Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Northern California,” says Brad Parker, a VP for Service Group of America, parent company of Food Services of America, a major Oregon food distributor. Parker doesn’t predict any future problems because he says SGA is constantly searching out new fish suppliers. “The secret is having multiple suppliers in multiple regions,” he says. “This allows for fresh varieties all year long.”