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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food Hardcover – July 15, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Many of the critics called upon to review Paul Greenberg's Four Fish are themselves environmental writers or experts of some kind. It is a measure of the book's quality that even those who significantly disagreed with Greenberg endorsed Four Fish as one of the best primers for readers who want to learn how the seafood they eat relates to the future of the ocean. Their support may result from Greenberg's pragmatic solutions for improving aquaculture and avoidance of ideological confrontation. But reviewers also emphasized that even those who know a great deal about this subject will enjoy the narratives Greenberg shares as he follows the fates of his four fish.

From Booklist

The future of the world’s fisheries looks ominous. Beset with pollution, habitat destruction, and ever more efficient fishing technology, the oceans’ fish populations are plummeting at an alarming and ever-increasing rate. Greenberg travels the globe to find out the true extent of damage and how it might be ameliorated before species actually go extinct. What he learns is enlightening, but not always encouraging. Salmon have suffered for decades due to the damming of rivers vital to their spawning cycle. Sea bass numbers may be in decline, but farming techniques show some promise. Restrictions on fishing fleets have not yet brought cod back to the Grand Banks in supplies matching demand. Sushi aficionados have so escalated demand for tuna that even these streamlined swimmers can’t escape massive trawlers. Moreover, if consumers actually ate seafood in currently nutritionally recommended amounts, the world’s fish would disappear almost immediately. Advances are occurring in aquaculture, but challenges remain daunting. --Mark Knoblauch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: The Penguin Press; 1St Edition edition (July 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594202567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594202568
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Terry Sunday TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love seafood. However, I live in arid West Texas, a place where good seafood is nonexistent, for both geographic and cultural reasons. What passes for a seafood restaurant here is (shudder) Red Lobster, and the fishmongers at local grocery stores just give you a blank stare when you ask about wild-caught Copper River salmon. Despite these difficulties, I am very (perhaps perversely) interested in the natural history of the seafood that is impossible for me to get, and Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is appetizer, main dish and dessert for curious pescetarians.

The four fish of the title are salmon, bass, tuna and cod, which are today the world's dominant wild-caught and farmed fish. Mr. Greenberg devotes a long chapter to each of these finned culinary staples. He ties their stories together by showing how each represents one discrete step that humanity has taken, sometimes over hundreds or thousands of years, to increase and control the tasty, nutritious largess of the sea. Salmon, for example, depend on clean, cold, free-flowing freshwater rivers, and was likely the first fish that early northern-hemisphere humans exploited. Sea bass, which inhabit shallow waters close to shore, were the catch of choice when Europeans first learned how to fish in the ocean. Cod live further out, off the continental shelves many miles offshore, and were the first fish subject to industrial-scale fishing by mammoth factory ships. Tuna live yet further out, in the deep oceans between the continents, and represent the last food fish that has not yet been "domesticated."

Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mankind has often looked upon the ocean as a bountiful place capable of providing a near-endless supply of food. We even sort of romanticize those who brave the elements, from Moby Dick and yesterday's whalers to today's "Deadliest Catch." And for reasons of abundance or convenience or perhaps just taste, we've settled upon four main fish which serve as our principal "seafood": salmon, bass, cod, and tuna. But, as fishing has become increasingly commercial and efficient, we're in danger of destroying the wild populations of these fish and the ecosystems they depend upon and that are dependent upon them.

Paul Greenburg has written an excellent and surprisingly readable book about our relationship with the sea and its bounty. He does this not from a solely environmentalist perspective, but also as a fisherman and one who enjoys eating fish. He discusses the advantages of wild vs. farmed fish - the destructive practices of each which imperil future stocks. With farming, in particular, the four are very poor candidates for captive rearing (although the lessons learned so far have been essential and can be applied elsewhere). He also explores potential replacements against a checklist of qualities that should ensure greater success (the same qualities that have been proven in terrestrial farming).

I was *very* surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I've never been a huge eater of seafood, although I've recently begun ordering it more often when we eat out. But I most appreciated the scientific aspect of the book that seeks to find the best possible balance, moving beyond the simple red or green seafood cards to maximizing a sustainable harvest while protecting resources. He acknowledges there are no easy answers, but leans a little too heavily on regulation as if illegal poaching wouldn't increase with such measures. But overall, an important read for all those who are concerned about the future of the oceans and the last wild food.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is an insightful, entertaining, and compelling natural history and social commentary on the current state of commercial fishing, fish farming, recreational fishing, and worldwide fisheries management. The vast scope of this work is simplified by focusing on the four most popular eating fish: salmon, tuna, bass, and cod. In the process, the reader gains a solid overview of the topic. The book is packed with fascinating technical, scientific, social and historical details, but at no time did I feel overwhelmed...in fact, just the opposite: I could hardly put the book down. I was stunned to discover that "Four Fish" is a page-tuner!

The last time I found a natural history that was so compelling, it was Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma." While I don't think this book will become another worldwide nonfiction bestseller like that one did, I would not be surprised to see it turned into a feature National Geographic Channel documentary. After all, the author is extremely engaging and a writer who frequently writes for that magazine.

The author's writing is personal, direct, honest, and easy-going. Reading the book felt like sitting down with a brilliant, enthusiastic buddy and listening to him tell you about the subject that commands his greatest passion. The book is full of delightful stories based on fascinating people who Greenberg interviewed and observed during the course of researching this book. Much of the scientific and technical information is passed on to the reader through artful, true-to-life storytelling. His stories unfold naturally and often overflow with humor and wit. There is a comfortable balance between the light and serious section.
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