“End of the Line” doc succeeds in gaining star power


Here’s a story that will warm some hearts, and evoke some dubious eye rolls from others. In either case, those who caught “The End of the Line” at SIFF will certainly appreciate the speed with which the film has achieved this level of celebrity activism:

Elle Macpherson and Stephen Fry condemn Nobu for serving bluefin tuna

Elle Macpherson, Stephen Fry and Sienna Miller are among the celebrities who are threatening to boycott Nobu for serving bluefin tuna.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 2:24PM BST 04 Jun 2009

The Michelin-starred Japanese fusion restaurant, part-owned by Robert de Niro, is a popular celebrity eatery with A-list diners including Wayne Rooney, Kate Moss and Brad Pitt.

However, following a hard-hitting documentary a number of celebrities have written to the restaurant to say they can no longer “dine with a clear conscience” as long as the restaurant continues to serve bluefin tuna – a species considered by many to be as endangered as the white rhinoceros, panda or tiger.

Jemima Khan, Laura Bailey, Alicia Silverstone, Charlize Theron, Zac Goldsmith, Sting and Trudie Styler are also among the signatories to the letter.

“The possibility that the magnificent bluefin tuna, one of the fastest creatures on the planet, could be extinct in as little as four years is a tragedy. Continuing to serve bluefin leaves Nobu vulnerable to public criticism and lagging behind Moshi Moshi, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Itsu and numerous others,” they write.

The celebrities say Nobu is a restaurant “we all love with a fantastic reputation and enormous influence” but bluefin tuna “must be completely removed from the menu due to its’ perilous position as an extremely endangered animal”.

Bluefin tuna used to be abundant in the Atlantic and Mediterranean but has been fished to the point of extinction with environmentalists warning that breeding stocks could disappear in just three years’ time.

The new film, End of the Line to be released on World Ocean Day on Monday 08 June, shows the fish being caught and sold on the market and even suggests that some companies are stockpiling the fish in order to sell it as an even greater price once stocks are further depleted.

However, Nobu continue to serve the tuna at its restaurants at up to £32 per dish, including at two branches in London’s Park Lane and Berkeley Street.

The restaurant recently included a warning on the menu advising diners that the bluefin tuna is an endangered species.

Environmentalists and now celebrities say only removing the dish from the menu is good enough.

Mr Fry, who has been posting reports on Twitter in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of the fish, said there was no justification for serving up an endangered species.

“It’s astounding lunacy to serve up endangered species for sushi. There’s no justification for peddling extinction, yet that is exactly what Nobu is doing in restaurants around the world,” he said.

A spokesman for Nobu said the restaurant takes the issue of Bluefin Tuna and its environmentally threatened status “very seriously”.

He added: “The consumption of this fish is a cultural institution in Japan and there is still an enormous demand for this delicacy at all our restaurants. In the specific case of the menus at our London restaurants it should be noted that the statement that informs diners that the tuna served is Bluefin was included at the behest of Greenpeace, with whom we have continual dialogue. We are also currently looking at Australian farm-raised tuna as an alternative.”

Perhaps a similar outcome will take place after the A-list catches Sandy Cioffi’s Sweet Crude, which also documents a futile effort in the film to influence major political and economic forces (and includes a small mention of harnessing the power of George Clooney to achieve these aims).


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