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Dead Seas

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  588 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
There's simply no limit to the sins people will commit for a tasty meal. The Japanese are notorious for their trade in bluefin tuna, while newlyweds in Bangkok, Shanghai and Singapore devour a gelatinous soup made from poached abalone and fins hacked from living sharks. But surely there's no need for you to feel bad about ordering sea bass in a London restaurant? Unless, o ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published 2009 by Pan Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)
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Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-books

This book changed the way I eat, shop, and work. There are practical and easy seafood listings on the "good" "sometimes" and "never" eating lists - so even if you don't read the book, check out the lists. But if you want to know why I don't eat shrimp anymore or why I think sardines are awesome (and delicious) - then actually read the book. Otherwise you'll continue eating the seafood equivalent of a tiger on the food chain, you'll continue eating the endangered species being sold
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A testament to the power of this collection of ugly fish industry underbellies: On finishing this book, I went straight to the supermarket and attempted to make an ethical fish purchase. I bumbled the whole thing, buying rockfish that was mislabeled as Pacific cod, a species that although wild caught, was probably trawled. Before this book, I would have no idea what any of that meant! It's got great information, and is fairly readable, when the author's soap box voice doesn't get too loud. I wil ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was plenty in this book that I already knew:
(1) we are ruining the ocean with overfishing and pollution;
(2) farmed salmon is an environmental disaster and not much use in a nutritional sense either;
(3) fishermen do a lousy job of self-policing and they blame the government for putting them out of a job but only because they can't fish as much as they'd like to;
(4) governments do a lousy job of protecting fishing stocks because fishermen are constituents, the fishing industry is an importan
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was both informative and depressing. I learned a lot about which seafood to avoid due to complete over-fishing, destructive farming, or the fish being apex predators. The oceans are being completely fished out, some species to complete extinction. Some simple changes can be made to help slow this down, but probably will never be due to political reasons. They would rather keep fishing even while seeing numbers drastically drop than increase catch limits or impose a temporary moratorium ...more
Why I don’t really eat shrimp anymore.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s plenty of fish in the sea, as the old adage goes — but are there, really? I experienced a rude awakening at the peak popularity of Orange Roughy, which I loved. I learned that Orange Roughy, Hoplostethus atlanticus, an extremely long-lived benthic species in the Western Pacific Ocean that doesn’t even reach sexual maturity until 40 years of age, was being eaten out of existence by people like me. After I learned that, I never touched Orange Roughy again. But after I discovered Japanese s ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seafood lovers
very interesting book and very informative. I've been using the Monteray Bay Aquariam seafood guide for some time, but last year I found myself living in China eating jellyfish, sea cucumbers, and so many fish I'd never heard of, wondering if I was helping to extinguish another species from the ocean. I tried parrot fish for the first time recently and thought it quite tasty, and then I learned from the book that they're caught by destroying coral reefs with dynamite or cyanide! I knew salmon fa ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It reminded me that the slowest fish of all - even when it happens to be very swift indeed - is always the one you catch yourself. Grescoe

Taras Grescoe makes a lot of really good statements in this collection of essays, organized around the depleting of protein, (fish), in the collected oceans and seas of our common environment. The impression he makes is that each of us is responsible for addressing the topic as a verifiable and accountable issue, one that is only capable of being remedied with
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Grescoe is such a great and evocative writer, that this book - despite some of its depressing content - is a joy to read from beginning to end. Grescoe, in my opinion, is slightly less didactic than Michael Polan (who I very much like, but also can't read without imagining that he would be difficult to stomach if I didn't agree with him). Nonetheless, he does not sacrifice sharing his opinions and clearly demonstrating through anecdotes, research, and personal experience the evidence that inform ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature, own
This was a good book that I would recommend for anyone. It had lots of insite to the fisheries world, that even I was shocked on. As a seafood lover, I now need to reconsider where my seafood is coming from. Also that the asian countries are about killing the fishing industry and sending us toxic, farmed raised food, especially my beloved shrimp.

I thought some of the chapters were a bit long and drawn out on some of the subjects. It was like ok I really get the picture and I am sure some of the
Elaine Nelson
Amazing, if discouraging. A tour of fishing around the world, with each chapter focusing on a specific food and location. So: sardines in the Mediterranean, shrimp in India, salmon in BC, bluefin tuna in Japan, etc. He treats his subjects, both fish and human, with sensitivity. Great descriptive language of both the horrible and the sublime.

There's a useful appendix about fishing methods (good, bad, ugly), and specific fish (never, sometimes, always) -- shrimp and tuna in particular come off ver
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well-written snapshot into 2008's state of the world's international fisheries and aquaculture. This was one of the most frightening books I've read in recent times. Even though the book was written almost 7 years ago, not a whole lot has changed or improved since. The most appalling and gut-wrenching chapters pertained to the practices and impacts of shrimp and salmon aquaculture throughout developing Asia and British Columbia. After reading this book, I'll think twice about the seafood I eat ...more
A great read. Explains in much clearer, more nuanced terms how and why we need to choose our seafood carefully; discusses what various countries are doing to help (and to help destroy) our collapsing fisheries; and what we as regular folks can do to help. Despite giving us a great deal of information and statistics, the author never bogs you down in the boresome arcana of this or that industry or political system. Neither does he descend into scare talk.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like seafood, read this book. It isn't about stopping; it's about knowing where your seafood comes from & how it's caught - or eating healthfully and ethically. Do not eat industrial farmed salmon (organic farmed is okay) or shrimp or any fish from Asia. But there's plenty out there to eat.
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good book with lots of information. In fact, that might be my only complaint, too much information. It took me a couple weeks to read it and while I read the book I was paralized with indecision on which seafood I could eat and which would be harmful. Needless to say I ate a lot of vegetarian items that week!
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The wealth of information in this book is astounding. While jumping a bit from issue to issue (bottom-trawling to antibiotics to overfishing) he does a good summary at the end, and the stories he tells of fisherfolk around the world are wonderful.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2011
A grim read about the future of the oceans
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
stunning book with much more information besides the fact I already have informations about Japanese insane crave for whales, dolphins, salmon, tuna, black tuna through documentary such as Black Fin and Cove etc...and the insane Chinese crave for shark fin I know more about Brits' chip filet, McD's filet, toxic shrimps, Thailand CP group, fish sickness such as louse, antibiotics, over-fisheries are killing our fish chain...I have never found of eating fish because somehow along my own ...more
Isaac Yuen
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Someone compared this to a seafood version of the Omnivore’s Dilemma. While I don’t think Grescoe is quite as philosophical and illuminating about his adventures into seafood as Pollan was about his meals, there were still quite a few aspects of the book that were fascinating, even to the most seafood conscious of consumers. One of the things I liked was that he gave credit where credit is due, even if it IS McDonald’s sourcing sustainable shrimp, or his praise of the Japanese’s incredibly detai ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate it less if I could. Eat ethically killed fish is the answer. No, it's not.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was thinking of giving this a "3" - the myriad details within a common theme led all chapters - each a regional/nation-focused discussion - to blend together into depressing soup, and it took me months to finish the book. I hate it when a writer takes a narrow set of facts and blows these up inapproppriately - and potentially misleadingly. At the scale of book-wide themes, this isn't an issue. But when I read in the chapter on salmon that temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest "owe the ...more
I learned a lot from this book.

I gave up land animals a while ago, but still ate fish up until December of last year. I decided to give up seafood after watching the movie The COVE, truthfully when I decided to give up seafood I was not sure if I could do it forever, I mean I love seafood... land animals wasn't difficult for me , but the thought of giving up fish well, i definately had my doubts, still do sometimes.

After reading this book let me tell you I feel more determined to stick to my g
Greg Zink
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I can't recall exactly when I became interested in seafood sustainability, nor can I come up with a really great explanation of why I care so much. However, sometime in the past year or so I stumbled upon a web article or something similar that piqued my interest, and I've been hooked (too cheesy?) ever since. I started browsing the Monterey Bay Aquarium's website and others to make sure I educated myself about how my seafood choices are affecting the world on a larger scale. And partway into th ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this a profoundly depressing book. It is a very important, well written, well researched, and humorous book, but depressing nevertheless. I knew that the seas were being over-exploited, that fish and shrimp farming are causing diseases and habitat loss, but it is the speed and breath-taking greed and stupidity that is so jaw-dropping. It’s estimated that we have already stripped the oceans of over 90% of large ocean fish; illegal fishing continues apace, barbaric practices such as shark ...more
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few years back, Taras Grescoe wrote an entertaining travel/food book called the Devil's Picnic, which described his quest to try prohibited foods and beverages, including absinthe and raw milk cheese. His most recent book, Bottomfeeder, is just as entertaining, but also describes a serious global problem, namely, the devasation to the world's ecosystems caused by man's appetite for seafood.

Grescoe visits the home of many seafoods to show how the market for food is crushing seafood stocks. In t
Michelle S.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottomfeeder is explores the sustainability of our oceans and the practices involved in keeping our oceans alive. Though very realistic, the book doesn't delve into doomsday prophecies; instead, it is cautiously hopeful that with the right restrictions and growing awareness that the seas can be saved without eliminating the consumption of seafood altogether.

Taras Grescoe is a lover of seafood which makes his travels extremely relatable. His delight in slurping down Belon oysters in France and t
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent book on the current state of our world's fisheries and the humans who depend on them, and, of course, destroy them. Many books have been published the last decade about the harmful effects of industrialized food production and this is one of those books, focusing on seafood instead of corn, beef, chicken, and the omnipresent plague of Fast Food. It's true that most of these kind of books can get a little preachy which is tiresome, but the education we get from them is invaluable ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone

seriously. it's fantastic. it should be required reading for everyone.

here's the thing - i don't eat fish or other seafood. ever. i have an anaphylactic allergy to shellfish and bivalves. as well, most other fish and seafood triggers some fairly bad reactions in my system. husband could live on a mediterranean or portuguese diet and be happy, happy, happy. i am also a very curious person and i want to know what's going on in this world. i have a particular interest in ea
Nov 29, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"From Publishers Weekly
In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe (The Devil's Picnic) whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the turbid and murky Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the cell from hell, a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the idea of this book, but the subtitle "how to eat ethically in a world of vanishing seafood" is inaccurate. Grescoe is a journalist who likes to travel and write about the people and things he finds. Only the appendix truly addresses the subtitle, and even it screams for more information about all the things we see on menus and at the grocery store. Frankly, the website does that much better.

This book is very accessible though and makes you ask questions like "why
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the dreaded do not eat list 1 10 Aug 29, 2009 10:13AM  
  • The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat
  • Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old Macdonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat
  • Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
  • Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
  • Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms
  • Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System
  • The End of Food: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Food Supply--And What You Can Do about It
  • Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply
  • Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew
  • The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Obsession, Commerce, and Adventure
  • Bacon: A Love Story: A Salty Survey of Everybody's Favorite Meat
  • The End of Food
  • How to Pick a Peach
  • Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
  • The Unnatural History of the Sea
  • The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners
  • The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them
  • Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath the Seas
Taras Grescoe was born in 1967. He writes essays, articles, and books. He is something of a non-fiction specialist.

His first book was Sacré Blues, a portrait of contemporary Quebec that won Canada's Edna Staebler Award for Non-Fiction, two Quebec Writers' Federation Awards, a National Magazine Award (for an excerpted chapter), and was short-listed for the Writers' Trust Award. It was published in
More about Taras Grescoe

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“Food safety experts have discovered that some people who believe they have shellfish allergies are actually exhibiting reactions, like itching and swelling, to antibiotic residues in farmed species.” 0 likes
“Gandhi said that we have enough resources for the need of us all, but not for the greed of us all,” he recited. “And this is Thomas Kocherry’s quotation: ‘The life of the planet, and the dependent health of humanity, cannot be sacrificed for the greed of a few.” 0 likes
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