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Bay Area Sushi Bars Face Daunting Supply Shortages

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A plate of sushi in San Francisco. (KCBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – Bay Area sushi bars and other restaurants that rely heavily on Japanese seafood are facing shipping delays and supply shortages following last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

At Umi on Potrero Hil, owner and executive chef Stewart Chen has a large variety of fish from the Japanese markets.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“We have sea bass, tako (octopus), tobiuo (flying fish),” said Chen. “All this is from Japan, from all over Japan.”

About half the fish Chen serves comes from Japan, with the other half from local markets and fisheries.

But he’s already starting to see the impact of the earthquake on overseas deliveries.

“There are a lot of delays, especially the fish that might be a special request. They have been saying, we don’t have that,” he said.

Umi is one of several sushi restaurants in the Bay Area that is expecting long-lasting effects from the disaster in Japan.

But it’s not only restaurants that are suffering. I Love Blue Sea, a San Francisco sustainable seafood provider, said they’ve already seen a drop in the availability of the popular Hokkaido scallops.

It’s thought that what product is available in Japan will be saved for restaurants in that country, and restaurants and distributors in the United States could see lower quality seafood being shipped overseas.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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