The right way to kill a fish

This is the most humane way to kill a fish. Stabbing it in the brain, and cutting it open
to bleed out. I know, it looks gruesome, but trust me, it’s
better than the alternative for the fish,and for you. Most fish are killed the same way: Scooped
out of the water, thrown in a bucket of ice,and left to suffocate to death. Their brains are really different from ours
— which makes it hard to figure out if andhow they feel pain. Studies are conclusive on one thing, though:
fish do feel stress — and try to fight orflee stressful situations. It can take anywhere from five minutes to
a few hours of struggling in the open airbefore a fish finally dies. And while they’re trying to escape, their
bloodstreams fill with stress hormones, likecortisol and adrenaline. Plus, all that movement causes lactic acid
to flood their muscles — the same chemicalhumans produce when we exercise. When a fish is struggling to death it’s actually
exercising when it’s suffocating. This is Andrew Tsui, an attorney and former
commercial fisherman whose real passion isteaching people how to properly kill fish. That lactic acid buildup in the muscle tissue
actually has real consequences for it at acellular level. These chemicals speed up the breakdown of
muscle and fat, which causes the fish to loseits inherent rich flavor and adopt a bitter,
mushy taste. They make fish rot quickly,
And develop that unpleasant ‘fishy’ smell. Since most fish are killed this way, it’s
probably all you’ve ever tasted. But there’s a better way. Ike jime is a traditional Japanese method
for killing fish. It’s a four-step process, and according
to Andrew, it basically translates to “brain spike. “He’ll show you why with this live Maryland
striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay:So the first step is to actually make sure
that this fish doesn’t experience any stress. We’re gonna kill this fish by placing a spike
into its brain. You know that you’ve actually hit its brain
when that fish seizes like this. Its dorsal and the rest of its fins flare
and its mouth will flare. Once it’s spiked the fish is brain dead,
meaning it can’t experience any more stress— but it’s heart is still beating from
cellular energy reserves. Because its heart is still bleeding we’re
gonna use the residual blood pressure to,to pump out and bleed the fishThis is also known as exsanguination. So the process of exsanguinating a fish is
three cuts. The first cut is at the gill arches on both
sides. And then the third cut is at the artery in
the tail. Removing the blood means the fish rots slower. At this point, even though the fish is braindead,
the nervous system can still cause involuntarymuscle movement — which adds to that unsavory
lactic acid buildup. The next step shuts that down. One of the more gruesome parts of ike jime
is the spinal cord destruction and the necessityof it sort of varies by species. But essentially what the objective is, is
to cease any further signaling between thecentral nervous system and the muscle tissue. And that takes place in the spinal cord. One of the ways that that is achievable is
by sending a metal pith. Through the spinal cord of the fish. Last but not least, the fish goes into a bath
of ice water. We use a one to one ice to water ratio to
create a slurry and then submerge the fishfully and in the slurry. In there, the muscles cool down and the fish
finishes bleeding out. When you take a look inside a fish, you can
really see the difference using ike jime makes. Both of these fish were caught earlier this
day. One was killed using the standard method — suffocation
— and one was killed using the ike jime method. When Andrew opened them up, they looked relatively
the same — but you can see that the suffocatedone is filled with a lot of blood, the stuff
that causes quick decomposition. We did a taste test, and. . . They honestly taste pretty similar. It tastes fresh. There’s not like an overwhelming flavor to
it. It’s a few days later when things start
to change:FDA guidelines recommend cooking and eating
refrigerated fish within two days,but since ike jime slows rotting immensely,
the fish is good for much longer, which meansits able to develop more complex flavors,
similar to the way red meat tastes betterwhen it’s aged. This fish was purchased whole from the grocery
store, killed using the standard suffocation method. It’s a couple of days old. And this one was killed using the ike jime
method — it’s been sitting in the fridgeat 33 degrees for two whole weeks. When we opened both of them up, the suffocated
one had a distinct fishy aroma. Wow, yeah, I can really smell it now. It smells so metally, and gross. Oh my god!Its insides had blood running through them,
and were starting to break apart, providingmore space for bacteria to grow. The aged ike jime fish, on the other hand,
had barely any scent. It tasted different too:
This is the one I’m nervous about. This is the one from the store that’s a couple
days old. Oh my God. It’s not great. I’ll be honest with you. It’s a little sour. OK so this is supposed to be the primo fish. The one that was has been aging for two weeks
after being killed with the ike jime method. You can tell underneath it there’s just like
this hint of complexityAnd once we added a bit of salt to bring that
flavor out:Oh my God, that is so good. I don’t even know what it tastes like, but
it’s delicious. So it tastes so much better and lasts much
longer, why aren’t fish killed using theike jime method?The answer is simple: Cost. It’s almost impossible to scale ike jime
on commercial ship decks and fish farms,Where it’s just cheaper and easier to default
to asphyxiation. For now, there is one particular market for
fish killed using the ike jime method: high-endrestaurants, especially ones serving sushi. Like La Marine in France,
Or Providence in LA. These restaurants pay a lot of money for ike jime fish from Japan, its primary exporter. But elsewhere in the world, fishers are sitting
on an untapped market. If they used the ike jime method, they could
sell their fish for a lot more money. Anyone if given the opportunity to look at
two filets side by side or two fish side byside will immediately immediately notice these
distinctions suddenly, it’s just that thatopportunity doesn’t really come around very
often. I like to to think that Ike Jime is actually
about intellectual integrity. So the integrity of the fish, the integrity
of sort of what we’re really doing here, whichis ultimately creating something to eat. Making a smarter choice in the food system can help us feel good about our decisions. And making the smarter choice for mobile can, too. Ting is a cellular service provider that only charges you for the data you actually use,not a flat monthly bill. These days most people are using Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and iMessageto send the majority of their texts. And yet still pay for expensive unlimited talk and text packages. On top of that, if you’re the type of person who’s almost connected to WiFi,which doesn’t count toward data usage, Ting can give you serious savings. Like your phone bill could be as low as $23 a month serious. And if you use less data, you pay less. Ting offers nation-wide LTD coverage across two major networks. So the phone you already own probably already works with Ting. All you need is a SIM card. Make the smarter choice for mobile and get $25 off your monthly bill at vox. ting. com. Ting doesn’t directly impact our editorial, but their support makes videos like these possible. So go check them out.

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