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God bless the poor attendant behind the meat counter the next time I shop for seafood. After reading the new book The Perfect Protein by Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless, I’ll be fishing for all sorts of information. Is this fish farm raised or wild caught? How many miles did it travel to the store? How about a new recipe for anchovies?
Authors Sharpless and Suzannah Evans attempt to take ordinary consumers like you and me into the deep — so we understand more about the origins of our seafood. Why would it matter which type of fish we choose, beyond which one’s on special from week to week? They argue the pricetag doesn’t reflect externalities like pollution and certain declining fish populations.
Hungry? This book, like the Oceana organization, argues that the globe’s soon-to-be nine-billion people need not go hungry, if we manage our oceans more wisely. While the United States now has some of the strictest fishing policies in the world, we import so much seafood from elsewhere that we still support less responsible fishing with our shopping choices.
This book argues that oceans and their catches could be managed more responsibly if all fishing quotas were scientifically based, if we protected aquatic habitat and if we reduced the unintentional catching of fish called bycatching. The book calls out our collective appetite for a few larger fish while we overlook mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines and the like. Several top chefs introduce recipes to put these less popular fish onto America’s dinner plates.
You can find your own copy of The Perfect Protein and learn more about Oceana.org at the organization’s website.