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American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood Paperback – June 9, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 9, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143127438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143127437
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By sneaky-sneaky VINE VOICE on June 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Greenberg has apparently found his voice as an ichthylogical advocate, and has followed up his excellent 'Four Fish' with another book that involves three. The strength of 'American Catch' is its locovore leitmotif, three species that represent many of the ills that have befallen our food supply, food chain, ecosystems, eating habits, and eating habitats.
If we managed to reintroduce edible oysters to the New York City area, we could achieve several things, firstly, cleaner water, as these ancient bivalves filter fifty gallons a day each, and oystertectured shallows would mitigate both storm surges and rising seas. These calciferous reefs in turn harbor and shelter other species, so oysters are actually a keystone species, much like returning wolves to Yellowstone Park restored struggling trees by eating the deer that were eating the seedlings.
Tied into the coastal fate of oysters are salty tidal marshes that spawn a host of tasty piscines, and the most popular of all by weight, shrimp. We could grow all the shrimp we want here, but instead farm it out to Asia and China. The air in China is bad, the water is atrocious, and yet here we are eating shrimp, tilapia and catfish farmed there.
Finally, Mr. Greenberg covers Bristol Bay in Alaska, home to the last great salmon run, and the competing interests of mining corporations who promise to 'get it right this time.' In all a good book, and with some solutions presented, it's not all doom and gloom, we can educate consumers, prod government, and protect what's left.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is something of an environmental case study -- three, in fact -- and a compelling lesson in economics and marketing, told through three simple foods and their sources: oysters in the New York City estuaries, shrimp in Louisiana and the oil-stained Gulf of Mexico, and salmon in far Alaskan waters. The author, as we see, has first-hand experience with the people and fisheries in all three areas and his report, from the scene, is compelling -- and concise and highly readable.

It's not just a story of environmental damage, though he tells it plainly enough: the pollution and sewage in New York harbor, the oil spill in the Gulf, and the threat of the gold and copper Pebble Mine proposal to the salmon fisheries in Alaska. We learn just how badly our export of our remaining seafood -- and our import of cheaper seafood, such that it is, from Asia and elsewhere -- has distorted our own fisheries, our food industries and our nutrition. We learn just how many local jobs and industries are affected, and we see, more clearly, just how much economic damage goes hand-in-hand with environmental degradation.

It is reversible, he says, but it will need a major change in mindset. This book helps; certainly the reader will think differently about what's on the dinner table. And the author is hopeful: "All that the sea asks of us," he writes, "is that we be wide in our harvest, recognize the limits of its bounty, and protect the places where seafood wealth is born. In return the sea will feed us and make us smarter, healthier, and more resilient in the process. Quite a covenant."

Highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It used to be that the bays and oceans of much of the country were teaming with fish and shell fish and constituted a major portion of the protein in the diet of average Americans. In New York, oysters were plentiful and cheap, while in New Orleans, shrimp and numerous other species of fish were easy to obtain and consume, however those days are about over. Between polluting our waters and sending what fish we have that is left overseas, we are becoming an importer of low quality fish….a sort of big box type fish.

The author looks at three species and starts with the oysters that once were very plentiful in New York Harbor, but which have all but vanished due to pollution and mismanagement of the harbor. Even if the beds could be reestablished, it is doubtful that they would be edible for a long time. But, if they could be replaced in the bay, they would help prevent tide surges in storms, help filter that water that is polluted and make for a better environment.

The second species the author looked at were shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in the New Orleans area. Again, at one time, these fish were tasty, if a bit expensive and extremely plentiful. Now, the catches are dwindling and pollution plays a major part in this. Shrimp like a nice shoreline of marshes to grow up in. As the marsh land at the mouth of the Mississippi has diminished due to human intervention, the shrimp have started to leave. In addition, the spill by BP ruined marsh grass allowing even more coast to disappear. And the shrimp are slowly going too. What shrimp are caught are sent to foreign countries, as Americans have developed a taste for farmed shrimp from overseas. Work is being done to restore the marsh areas, which will help the shrimp; hoperfull in time.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Greenberg's "American Catch" is an intense read. Informative, sometimes overwhelming, at times depressing, on the state of America's seafood industry which has taken hits from several directions and Greenberg lays it all out. For anyone who wants to get a better idea of why environmental issues are important to business, this is a book for you.
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