A FISHY Worth Dying For?

November 24, 2014

There's nothing better then spending a day out on the water with some friends, throwing back a few brewskis and catching dinner. However, when dinner turns into a game of russian roulette if cooked wrong, then we have a game changer on our hands. 


According to CNBC:

The star of a Japanese dish called fugu is a puffer fish that produces toxins so deadly that it can kill if prepared improperly. Yet the delicacy is so popular that overfishing may be pushing one species of puffer to the brink of extinction, according to a report by an environmental group.

The Chinese puffer, Takifugu chinensis, is one of the top four puffer species used in the dish in Japan, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Like most types of puffer, it ingests toxin-producing bacteria that it uses as a defense against predators in the wild. The fish stores these toxins in organs such as the liver—one fish can contain enough toxin to kill up to 30 people.

The IUCN is not connected to a government and doesn't have any regulatory power, but maintains the list as a resource to inform people about species it believes are under siege.

A poisonous delicacy

Fisheries body raises quota on endangered Bluefin
Japanese chefs typically train to prepare the fish safely, and often need to be licensed. But even with these precautions, accidents happen. In 2011, a two-Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant served up some fugu that almost killed a diner.

Nevertheless, the fish is prized in Japan and elsewhere for its subtle flavor, and often the dish does not come cheap. A meal at Tokyo's Tsukuji Yamamoto (two Michelin stars) averages about 35,000 yen—roughly $300.

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