Japan facing a sushi shortage

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Japanese restaurants are battling with a potential crisis over sushi, as rising costs and supply chain issues have created a shortage in the country.

“There’s currently a shortage of salmon, and ikura is in real danger,” Yoshunobu Yoshihashi, a wholesaler at Toys Market in Tokyo told BusinessInsider.

Ikura, a popular sushi dish made from salmon roe, is under particular threat, as two years of poor fishing and the challenges importing/exporting it hit the industry. According to statistics from Toyosu Market, the price of Ikura has spiked by 30 percent due to the multiple pressures.

“Originally, there was an abundance of salmon in Russia and Alaska, but numbers were decreasing in Japan and Canada, which are the southern boundaries of salmon distribution. However, in the last two to three years, there appears to have been a decline in Russia and Alaska as well,” Shunpei Sato, from the Japan Fisheries Research and Educational Agency, said.

Japan has traditionally used farmed salmon for its sushi restaurants, importing the product from Norway. However, the war in Ukraine and subsequent restrictions on international airspace, has meant suppliers have to find other routers for moving the product into the country.

According to the news outlet, salmon is now being flown from Norway via Dubai and into Japan. However, the longer route means that the cost of the product is increased and the fish loses some of its freshness.

Japan acquires 70 precent of its salmon and trout from Chile, 20 percent from Norway and ten percent from Russia.

While imports fell ten percent earlier this year, prices having risen by around 15 percent, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.