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Undercover Film Reveals Nobu Staff Saying Bluefin Is Not Endangered

An environmental activist last week released undercover video footage of staff at Nobu apparently lying to customers that bluefin tuna was not endangered.

Heydon Prowse visited the Michelin-starred restaurant in Old Park Lane with a hidden camera and filmed one waiter denying the fish was endangered, while others gave confusing responses.

Bluefin tuna, used in sushi and sashimi dishes, is an endangered species with “critically depleted” stocks, according to the environmental charity WWF.

But the footage shows a female member of staff at Nobu claiming: “It's not listed as endangered. It's something that's becoming endangered, possibly if the overfishing continues.”

Another employee says: “It's an endangered species but the source that Nobu gets it from is sustainable.”

Staff were also filmed claiming everything Nobu sells is from a “sustainable source” and that the restaurant “worked together” with Greenpeace after it was brought to their attention the fish was becoming endangered.

Greenpeace's website alleges that “unscrupulous companies like Nobu are profiting by selling an endangered species” and calls for a boycott of those who sell bluefin.

The footage for Don't Panic magazine, which Mr Prowse edits, was filmed undercover during a single visit to the restaurant, he said.

“We are releasing the film and people can see the staff denying there's a problem with bluefin tuna,” said the 28-year-old from Brick Lane.

“We went to Nobu last week with a secret camera and asked about ordering bluefin tuna. The waiters said a lot of stuff that was not true, like bluefin is not endangered.

“The bluefin tuna is an amazing, shark-sized giant that... has almost completely disappeared. It's really alarming and there are other options for restaurants.”

The Nobu chain, co-owned by Robert De Niro and a beacon for celebrities, has already been criticised heavily for serving bluefin, one of the world's most fragile fish populations.

An undercover operation by activists last year used DNA testing to prove that Atlantic bluefin was on offer at the restaurants. Famous faces such as Sting, Elle Macpherson, Stephen Fry and Sienna Miller have since joined the call for bluefin to be taken off the menu.

The restaurant has reacted by adding a note to its menu that bluefin tuna is “an environmentally threatened species” and asking diners to seek an alternative from waiting staff. Earlier this week Mr Prowse infuriated staff at the Old Park Lane branch when he clamped a bicycle lock onto its doors so that customers could not get in.

He was joined by his colleague William Pine, who filmed the stunt on Tuesday evening. Mr Prowse said: “The restaurant staff got pretty p****d off and were banging on the door and telling us to unlock it. I think they called the police, but cancelled them — we didn't see any officers.”

The activist has a talent for grabbing headlines - he recently dug a pound-shaped flower bed in the lawn of Tory MP Alan Duncan in protest at his expenses claims for gardening, a video of which became a YouTube hit.

And he does not intend to stop: “It's not only Nobu, there are other restaurants that sell bluefin tuna in London, but I suppose Nobu is the most high profile target.

“Maybe we will go back and maybe we will think of something different — and equally disruptive. And I think it may be a good idea to target some other ones now we've done Nobu, they have been getting off lightly.”