Sunday, 20 July 2008

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe

Mr. Grescoe presents the reader with a well researched study on the well being of our oceans and the sea life it supports. It's unfortunate that in too many cases if a report card were to be issued many of the grades would not be passing.
As he travelled the seafood capitals of the world, he spoke with fisher persons of all sorts. Those who work from shore with nets, on huge trawlers, in fish markets, in aquaculture and finally those who continue to study the fish and the methods used to capture and reproduce them.
He discusses several methods of fishing which have varied and differing impacts on the fish populations. His findings: individual lines have the least impact, while dynamite and cyanide are incredibly destructive. You will have to read the book to find out the intimate details.
Much discussion centres on the trophic level the fish feeds at. The higher the trophic level , the more concentrated the pollutants, such as mercury in tuna. Eating from the lowest levels is a much better choice. Full discussion of trophic levels and their fish are included.
I have not read such a detailed description of aquaculture previously. It covers so much more than the neat and tidy presentation I had at a local trout farm.
There is a serious message under laying the whole book. The current state of our fisheries can not be maintained. The quotas are much too generous and are not being well policed. Something needs to change so we do not blindly follow the route of the mackerel, blufin tuna and cod that are already in deep peril.
The final message of the book is that all hope is not lost. As piscivores (fish eaters) it is our responsibility to get informed and eat sensibly.
For further information: Sustainable Seafood Canada .
Thanks to HarperCollins for the cover picture.

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