Books

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, Paul Greenberg

Am entertaining and nuanced investigation into global fisheries, New York Times writer Greenberg examines our relationship with wild fish. Greenberg challenges us to reevaluate whether fish are expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion. He finds that as wild fisheries are overexploited and many fish farmers ignore practical criteria for domestication--hardiness, freely breeding, and needing minimal care -- instead picking traditional  wild-caught species like sea bass "a failure in every category." Greenberg contends that ocean life is essential to feeding a growing human population and that we should seek to sustainably farm fish while maintaining functioning wild food systems.

 

The Most Important Fish in the Sea, H. Bruce Franklin

Franklin, a historian, was inspired to write this history of the all-but-extinct menhaden - a fish that's served an essential part of the Atlantic coastal food web as well as human populations. Franklin spins a grim but compelling tale of the role menhaden play in maintaining critical habitats, their utility to early Americans and their collapse over the past 150 years. As the menhaden population thins out, so have bass, bluefish, weakfish, while estuaries suffer catastrophic phytoplankton blooms. This riveting narrative exposes the greed, short-sightedness and unintended consequences which nearly destroyed the Atlantic coast ecosystem, and continues to wreak havoc in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

Bottomfeeder, Taras Grescoe

In this worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. He depicts the Chesapeake Bay, where overharvested oysters are too few to do their filtering job, how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks, finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup.These horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines whcih ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through.

 

The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan

Pollan's masterpiece examines "our national eating disorder" in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again. "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "[E]ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature.

 

Go Green, Get Lean, Kate Geagan, America’s Green Nutritionist™

Comparing a consumption-heavy lifestyle to a gas-guzzling SUV, Geagan arms readers with a highly readable book  on making healthier choices for body and planet. Over the course of six weeks, readers are encouraged to adopt a "flexitarian" diet. Geagan illustrates the benefits of greener eatting with straightforward, relevant data. Readers learn the fastest way to shrink their carbon footprint is eliminating bottled water.

 

 

What to Eat, Marion Nestle

Nestle (Food Politics), argues that  the increasing confusion about what to eat comes from two sources: experts who fail to create a holistic view by isolating food components and health issues, and a food industry that markets items on the basis of profits alone.  The key to eating well, Nestle advises, is to learn to navigate through the aisles (and thousands of items) in large supermarkets. To that end, she gives readers a virtual tour, highlighting the main concerns of each food group, including baby, health and prepared foods, and supplements. 

 

Cookbooks

Rick Moonen is a fish guy, having served as chef-owner of two seafood temples in NYC. In Fish WIthout A Doubt, he shares his expertise—from how to shop for fish to how to clean it and cook it. The cleaning, scaling and filleting pages are particularly good, with clear instructions and excellent photos that leave little room for doubt. Moonen covers everything from American classics like Manhattan Clam Chowder to modern dishes such as Creamy Fennel Soup with Salmon and Citrus Ragu. What separates this book from others is its focus on sustainability. Moonen is a founding member of Seafood Choices Alliance and an early advocate for chefs making responsible seafood choices.

 

National Geographic Fellow, acclaimed chef, author, & speaker Barton Seaver wants to restore our relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other through dinner. For Cod and Country is part of Seaver's mission to help us engage in a more sustainable food system. By combining all types of fish with loads of fresh vegetables, he fosters sustainability both in the sea and on the farm. For Cod and Country features recipes according to seasonal availability of the ingredients (plus “a fifth season” for farmed fish), along with ideas for preparation, seasonings, and lists of alternate fish to substitute in new dishes.

 

Articles and White Papers

 

At a Crossroads: Will Aquaculture Fulfill the Promise of the Blue Revolution?, Courtesy of SeaWeb

There is little doubt that the world’s fisheries are in crisis. Mounting scientific evidence points to dramatic declines in global catches. Increasingly, many are making the case that farming fish offers a solution to meeting the growing demand for seafood that catching fish cannot provide. Download report
 

 

Danger At Sea: Our Changing Ocean, Courtesy of SeaWeb

For millions of years, our species could do little to influence the character of ancient ecosystems, but as our technological powers and sheer numbers have exploded – from one billion people in 1800 to two billion in 1935 to a projected six billion by the year 2000 – so has our impact. Download report
 

 

Farming Salmon: A Briefing Book, Courtesy of SeaWeb

It is an old, enticing dream: To farm the seas as we farm the land. The decline of many fisheries around the world, together with growing demand for fish and shellfish, has combined in recent decades to give new life to the dream. This report investigates the environmental and social costs of growing food as we do on land or in the sea.Download report

 

Turning the Tide: Saving Fish and Fishers — Building Sustainable and Equitable Fisheries and Governance, Courtesy of SeaWeb

An overview of key issues in global fisheries which shows that we are taking fish out of the sea far faster than many of our existing fishstocks can replenish themselves. Download report

 

 

A Fish Oil Story, Paul Greenberg

With rising concerns and awareness of the issues surrounding overfishing, many consumers are choosing supplements as a guilt-free way to get their omega-3 fatty acids. Paul Greenberg examines "the fish behind the oil" and whether it's "fit, morally or environmentally speaking, to be consumed"Download here

 

 

Catch of the Freezer, Astrid Scholz, Ulf Sonesson and Peter Tyedmers

Two ecological economists and one food system researcher set out to understand how to develop sustainable food systems to feed a planet of nine billion by 2050. They discuss why the questions of conventional versus organic and wild versus farmed matter less than frozen versus fresh. "With the challenges facing the world's oceans mounting, buying frozen is a powerful choice that concerned eaters everywhere can make". Download here