The winner from the tuna debacle? Nobu

THE speed with which Pret a Manger and M&amp;S have put to use The End of the Line, a film about the overfishing of bluefin tuna that hasn&rsquo;t even been released yet, is astonishing. Another movie points the finger at our cruel, environment-wrecking ways and before you can say &ldquo;skipjack&rdquo;, the tuna sandwich is struck off the menu at Pret, M&amp;S is vowing to adhere to the highest possible tuna-fishing standards by the end of the month and celebrities are posing naked clutching a (dead) bluefin tuna in a not unerotic way. <br /><br />Yep, there&rsquo;s nothing clever marketers love more than a chance to capitalise on our love of self-flagellation: the chance to separate themselves from our evil consumerist culture that sweeps all that is natural and good from its path, from trees to oxygen to fish. Hooray, they think. One big publicity fest coming up, a chance to be the good guy and &ndash; swiftly afterwards &ndash; more money. <br /><br />After all, the film that so rocked the boat, pun most certainly intended, looks at the extinction of the bluefin &ndash; not exactly a staple at M&amp;S. Yet with its very tentatively recovering shares and a branding policy that revolves around trumpeting its squeaky clean environmental credentials, M&amp;S has much to gain from such a film. But did it really take a movie to alert M&amp;S and Pret to the way their own products are sourced? Come on. This is the most transparent marketing ploy I&rsquo;ve ever seen, desperate clinging on to the bandwagon before it vanishes over the hill.<br /><br /><strong>CELEBRITY-ENDORSED MESS</strong><br /><br />This tuna debacle has a serious issue at its core &ndash; the extreme overfishing of the bluefin tuna. But like so much else in our fad culture, it&rsquo;s become a celebrity-endorsed mess of issues and everyone&rsquo;s having a go: heck, stars including Sienna Miller and Stephen Fry are boycotting Nobu. What a statement. The seas will be so grateful. <br /><br />I&rsquo;m not advocating extinction, but spare me the whole &ldquo;they belong in the sea&rdquo; schtick, which is the bulk of Pret CEO Julian Metcalf&rsquo;s hastily composed and artfully packaged decision about tuna. Cows belong in the fields, don&rsquo;t they? Potatoes in the soil? It&rsquo;s time the likes of Julian Metcalf arranged their ethics along some cogent lines that aren&rsquo;t just about being first in the business to cry &ldquo;tuna&rdquo;. <br /><br />Much more refreshing is the way that Nobu has dealt with the issue. Rather than playing the good guy, like Pret and M&amp;S, Nobu is playing the devil, and a damn sexy one too, by refusing to take the endangered bluefin off its menu. We want to order it? We&rsquo;re the culprits. But at least it&rsquo;s giving us the choice. Just the way it should be.<br />