Friday, January 7, 2011
Book Review: Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg might seem like a rather dull subject and to be honest I am not sure what attracted me to pick this book for my Christmas read. Perhaps I was looking for answers to the questions I get on what fish to bye, perhaps it was my childhood passion for fishing or even the vague memories of the Icelandic cod war which I thought was such a strange thing to go to war over in my late teens. Whatever reason it was, I am glad I did. This is a remarkable book that is incredibly informative and educational while presenting the argument for a sustainable future for protein from our seas and oceans. The book presents the story of four fish rather like the style of botany of desire by Micheal Pollen and as such outlines the human impact in the desire for the various traits of each fish and how we have driven each species to the edge of destruction and are now trying to control their existence through farming techniques with potentially negative affects on both the environment and the remaining wild forms.
Paul questions the choice of the species we have set our sights on and compares their compatibility for domestication with the animals we have selected for our meat based protein. The four fish species are the main characters in this book, their stories share a common plot and it is told in great detail and as you go through the pages the eventual conclusion is obvious. The characters we have selected are, Salmon, Bass, Cod and blue fin Tuna, the plot is similar for each although the individual stories as diverse as the characteristics of the particular fish. This isn't one of those finger pointing environmental books that leave you with more questions than you had at the start or make you feel guilty about your existing lifestyle choices. It offers real advice to consumers, the anglers who catch, the fishing industry, fish farmers and even the political bodies that set fishing policies.
If you eat fish and want to understand how to be more informed and make sustainable choices this is good book for you and it will also provide you with the information to get involved in the debate and lobbying for a sustainable industry that can provide our need for fish protein and the future of fish as a sustainable wild and domesticated source.