Joan's Reviews > Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Four Fish by Paul Greenberg
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Sep 24, 11

Read from September 18 to 24, 2011

Another book in the 'Omnivore's Dilemma' genre. If you eat fish or think about the fishing industry or habitat management or oceans management, put this book close to the top of your list.

For me, eating used to be so straightforward. But, visits to aquariums, especially the one in Monterrey, CA provide a better understanding of the environmental cost of eating fish. Visits to Louisburg, NS, provide a better understanding of the importance of the Grand Banks fishing area to Europe. The frequent news items about the plight of fishermen and the collapse of the fishing industry make one try to figure out what is the most appropriate species (if any) to eat.

Greenberg uses the 4 fish species that are almost always available in your local supermarket or restaurant to organize this book and provides some background as to why these 4 species (salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna) have become of important to our diets as well as a more general discussion about ocean management and the various issues relating to farm-raised fish.

The extensive bibliography provides links to additional information beyond the wide ranging number of interviews and data presented in the book. On one hand, it is hopeful. Some measures have resulted in the re-estabishment of various species and environments. On the other hand, it is concerning. I've carried around my Monterrey Aquariums 'good fish to eat' list, along with about a million of my fellow visitors to the aquarium - and apparently the steady decrease in fish species on the endangered list has not changed since the lists were first published. Despite the observation that bluefin tuna, who sit at the top of the food chain, are warm blooded and in almost desperate circumstances, no effective treaty or closure of fishing in nursery areas has been implemented. I'm sure that the ongoing economic crises are occupying most of the various diplomatic corp, but it would be reassuring that someone could work on this problem.

Although not a topic in this book, consumption of other protein sources as been top of mine since I finished reading it and I've been moved to eat less animal protein - including fish, probably less food over all - and that is a good thing.
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