Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
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"A necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why." -Sam Sifton, The New York Times Book Review.
Writer and life-long fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. Four Fish offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.
in conjunction with the largest fish farmer in Maritime Canada, Cooke Aquaculture, developing a practice called integrated multitrophic aquaculture, or IMTA. This method of farming combines species that require feed (such as salmon) with other species (such as seaweeds) that extract dissolved inorganic nutrients and species (such as mussels and sea urchins) that extract organic particulate matter, to provide a balanced ecosystem-management approach to aquaculture. Like Kwik’pak Fisheries, IMTA’s
aquaculture system” in the world. These Asian barramundi, a most exotic species, never have any contact with the living ocean. Dozens of house-size tanks in four different airplane-hangar-size rooms (each named after a different Australian city—Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, and Darwin) draw water from wells fed by the Connecticut River, constantly recirculating and cleaning it, making a completely sterile environment where the fish grow fast and seldom suffer disease. So at Turners Falls,
the first large-scale captive spawning of tuna took place under a thick cloak of secrecy. Time magazine judged the achievement as the second most important invention of the year. Soon after the Time article, Zohar wrote me, deeply troubled, that he and all his work that had preceded this mile-stone got nary a mention in the Time article. But beyond the spawning of tuna, there are considerable complications ahead. Because bluefin are warm-blooded and lightning-fast, they have furiously high
warming is changing oceanic conditions, but fish have survived extreme climate change before and can again. Although ocean acidification is a real and growing threat, a rebuilt and robust wild fish population could help buffer ocean pH. Fish excretions, it turns out, are on the basic side of the pH spectrum. A radical increase in wild fish could be a bulwark against acidification. What is needed now is a societal choice to give priority to a set of clearly achievable goals for wild fish. Those
The Yupik nation barely noticed me as they zoomed around town. A woman in the distance called out enigmatically, “Sweetie, Sweetie!” A ways down, in the yard of a kind of jigsaw-puzzle house made of salvaged sky blue plywood, a man grasped the eye socket of a bloody walrus head with his left hand and sawed away at a tusk with his right. “Sweetie, Sweetie!” the voice called. A purebred pug appeared out of the fog and sprinted toward the voice. From the second story of another jigsaw-puzzle house,