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Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food Hardcover – July 15, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very helpful to understand the evolution of catching and farming fish.Published 12 days ago by LucyA
This important topic needs more attention and Greenberg does a great job of informing and entertaining. Read morePublished 2 months ago by mplyons
Good read, the author took his personal experiences and magnified them as acprofessional. The future of humankind dependscon how we manage our oceans!Published 2 months ago by alex
A thoroughly researched, well written book on a very timely issue.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very well written. Good narrative style to explain the crisis of our fisheries & oceans.Published 4 months ago by HEIDI from NYC
Great book! I have read it in the past and just purchased as a book.Published 5 months ago by M. M.
A really good read....in fact, I have read it twice and require that my fisheries students read it. Greenberg very succinctly places four fish: tuna, salmon, cod, and bass in... Read morePublished 7 months ago by David Argent
The tragedy of the commons, as we race to take all the wild fish out of the sea. The only hope is fish farming, but even it has many problems.Published 8 months ago by Thomas Adams