Don’t eat meat to save the planet, but eat fish? I was at the amazing Georgia Aquarium over the holidays and was amazed at all the sea creatures. I know they are in the biggest tanks in the North America, but I couldn’t help but wonder sometimes, do the fish and the sharks and all the other creatures get bored swimming around and around in a man-made house of glass?
Do I know at what price my seafood consumption pays for the environment and for the wild animals who live in the waters?
I’m always a little perplexed by those who say they won’t eat meat because they don’t want to eat animals or hurt the planet, yet seafood is often an exception….
Seafood. Frutas del mar.Frutti de mare. We don’t call four-legged animals we eat “landfood,” yet we think our oceans are forever overflowing.
If you eat anything from the seas, do you know how it’s caught? Is it endangered? Is it sustainable? If you eat any kind of fish or animal from the waters, I highly recommend first reading Four Fish by Paul Greenberg.
- One of the best written and clear books I’ve read, Greenberg investigates the fishing industry and what “seafood” and sustainability means through the four fish that have characterized much of our “seafood” today: salmon, cod, bass, and tuna. Being from New England, cod, lobster, and clam chowder were givens. We ate like there was no tomorrow.
But Greenberg warns otherwise, and investigates which fish are more sustainably raise, fish that have had less fame – tilapia, Kona Kampachi, carp. He also makes it clear that wild fish are not “seafood,” there for our consumption, but like any creature, deserves to fulfill its destiny. Francis Lam from Salon interviewed Greenberg via email recently, and you can read the transcript here.
For a while now, I have been buying my fish and other “seafood” from Whole Foods only because they are one of the few grocery stores that really pays attention to sustainable fishing practices. They use these third party certifies like the Marine Stewardship Council to identify these practices. MSC even has a pocket guide for consumers.
Rights to animals in the water and what constitutes as our food is coming to a head, literally. Do you remember that report of Gordon Ramsey getting doused with gasoline for investigating illicit shark fin trade? I love Gordon Ramsey!! Sorry for the digression…but he rocks.
An important video to watch is End of the Line (also streaming on Netflix. Netflix, I love you!). Check out their site and join the campaign to protect our “seafood” before we can no longer “see” anything in the ocean. See trailer here:
If we pay more attention to the animals that come from the waters, we may start hearing better news. Recently, Barry Eastabrook of Politics of the Plate noted that haddock stocks have been replenishing. Marc aka Mental Masala wrote a great piece on Ethicurean on what some restaurants in San Francisco, i.e. Fish and Chez Panisse, are doing. Follow fish2fork (on Twitter too) which is a “campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably” – done by the folks who did End of the Line.
Seafood is a misnomer. Animals in the oceans are wild, roaming animals, and we need to recognize and honor their place, especially if we ask them to give their lives for us.