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American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood Hardcover – June 26, 2014
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This is Mr. Greenberg's ultimate goal--to get us to eat the seafood from our nation's bounty. He points to the remarkable fact that, "while 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat is foreign, a third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to foreigners." In addition, he points out, "Americans now harvest our best, most nutritious fish in our best-managed Alaskan fisheries and send those fish over to Asia. In exchange, we are importing fish farmed in Asia, with little of the brain-building compounds fish eaters are seeking when they eat fish."
The New Yorker
“Greenberg, who laughs easily and resembles Paul Giamatti’s distant cousin, is the author of American Catch, which explores the fishy problem of why Americans have all but stopped eating seafood from their own waters. Here’s the uniquely American catch: ninety-one per cent of the seafood we eat comes from abroad and much of it is farmed, while one-third of what we catch is exported, and much of that is wild... Greenberg’s breezy, engaging style weaves history, politics, environmental policy, and marine biology through its three chapters.”
The Washington Post:
"Americans need to eat more American seafood. It’s a point [Greenberg] makes compellingly clear in his new book, American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood...Greenberg had at least one convert: me.”
The Wall Street Journal:
“Paul Greenberg so desires to revive the New York City oyster that he did the unthinkable: He ate a New York City oyster... This is Mr. Greenberg’s ultimate goal—to get us to eat the seafood from our nation’s bounty.”
Jane Brody, New York Times
“There is nothing inherently wrong with farmed seafood, says Paul Greenberg, the author of two excellent books on seafood, Four Fish:, The Future of the Last Wild Food and, just published, American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood. Mr. Greenberg describes several efforts to produce and market farmed seafood in an environmentally sound manner. Governments like ours would be wise to divert some of the subsidies that sustain animal husbandry on land to the underwriting of sound fish-farming practices.”
The Los Angeles Times
“If this makes it sound like American Catch is another of those dry, haranguing issue-driven books that you read mostly out of obligation, you needn’t worry. While Greenberg has a firm grasp of the facts, he also has a storyteller’s knack for framing them in an entertaining way.”
The Guardian (UK)
“A wonderful new book”
"This is on the top of my summer reading list. A Fast Food Nation for fish.”
“The salmon run may have found its own passionate champion in Greenberg, who has spent years covering the topic. Bristol Bay salmon is featured along with New York oysters and Gulf Coast shrimp in Greenberg’s new book, American Catch: The Fight For Our Local Seafood... Greenberg talks about the peculiar logic that’s caused our local seafood system to unravel, and what’s at stake if we don’t reel it back in.”
The Boston Globe
“Greenberg, a longtime commentator on aquaculture and the oceans, again blends reportage, history, and advocacy, organizing one chapter each around three species... Greenberg describes a wondrous moment — in the Bronx, of all places; while in search of reintroduced specimen he stumbles on “a real live, naturally spawned New York City oyster . . . [a] brave sentry from a lost kingdom.” Greenberg is at his best describing such epiphanies — he also writes beautifully about fishing for salmon in Alaska, which offers up similar reveries.”
"An optimistic perspective... A fascinating discussion of a multifaceted issue and a passionate call to action."
***PRAISE FOR PAUL GREENBERG'S FOUR FISH***
Sam Sifton, The New York Times Book Review
“[Four Fish] is a necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why.”
Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
“The signal quality of Greenberg’s book is its genial and sometimes despairing struggle with contradiction. Not many who argue for our planet’s endangered species also write the thrill of hunting them. Like the fish he once hooked, he plunges away and is reeled back. Four Fish is a serious and searching study. Written with wit and beauty, it is also play.”
“[An] excellent, wide-ranging exploration of humankind’s relationship with fish.”
The Seattle Times
“Greenberg’s saga, and his voice, are irresistible. A book that easily could have slid into cheap ideology or wonkiness instead revels in the tragicomic absurdity of nature, humans, and, of course, human nature. Yet it never shies away from the ugly, complicated truths of our modern world.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I learned so much reading this book and it's really changed the way I look at seafood and my seafood-purchasing habits.Published 2 months ago by Sharks are awesome
Easy little read on why we hardly eat the finfish and shellfish we catch. He focuses on three fisheries: sockeye salmon in Alaska; shrimp in the Gulf and abroad; and eastern... Read morePublished 3 months ago by KPDR87
This book gives readers a very good introduction into the issues that will shape our answer to the question of how to feed 9 billion people by 2050.Published 6 months ago by Will Fitzgerald
Great read, can't help but look at NYC differently after reading it.Published 7 months ago by R. Turner
bought for a friend who loves all fish, primarily Salmon. He has read it twice!Published 9 months ago by magic
I was looking for more from this book. The author did a fine job describing how the US is no longer is a dominant producer of oysters, shrimp, and how we may be losing our way... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rindge J. Leaphart