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The Perfect Protein: The Fish Lover's Guide to Saving the Oceans and Feeding the World Hardcover – May 28, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In a world where obesity rates are skyrocketing as famine levels are rising, it's more important than ever to preserve a food source that can help remedy both of these crises. The Perfect Protein presents an incisive and fascinating addition to the debate on how best to do that.” ―DAVID A. KESSLER, MD, author of The End of Overeating and former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration

“We want to preserve our oceans not just because they are filled with nature's wonders, but because they are also filled with a sustainable food source that can feed our hungry planet. The Perfect Protein offers a wise and wonderful new way to think about ocean conservation.” ―Alexandra Cousteau

“Saving our oceans will ensure that future generations have access to one of the healthiest, most affordable, and sustainable protein sources on the planet. Anyone who cares about solving world hunger and saving jobs needs to read this book!” ―Ted Danson

“Throughout the years when many others failed to give the ocean the attention it deserves, Andrew Sharpless has been a consistent and resonant voice for the conservation of our seas. The Perfect Protein is his clear-eyed and thought-provoking manifesto.” ―Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

“Andrew Sharpless has hit on the essential point, not how to stop fishing but how to make it work so we can benefit from it. This is an important concept.” ―Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

“This is the perfect ocean book for seafood lovers. Sharpless shows how, if we do a few simple things, we can save the fish so we have more of them to eat. And we must, because so many people around the world depend on fish!” ―Eric Ripert, Chef, Le Bernardin

“A powerful reminder that people have depended on the oceans since time immemorial--and we could for a long time to come if we were careful, not reckless and greedy.” ―Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

About the Author

Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana, the world's largest international organization dedicated to ocean conservation. Previously he began Discovery.com and helped launch RealNetworks. He lives in Maryland.

Suzannah Evans is a North Carolina-based journalist and Oceana's former editorial director.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609614992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609614997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eat more fish to save the oceans? It seems like a strange concept, but Oceana's leader, Andy Sharpless, makes the case for moving away from expanding industrial agriculture in order to feed the world in a less energy intensive, healthier way--with wild fish. His simple approach to saving the oceans--use science-backed quotas, reduce bycatch, and protect biodiversity where fish reproduce--gives hope and vision to saving ocean life while taking on the obesity epidemic, supporting coastal communities, and feeding the world.

His simple rules for becoming a more responsible seafood consumer were enlightening, too. I can say with confidence that I'll never reach for shrimp or farmed "Atlantic" salmon again.

It was a fabulous read, and the recipes in the back of the book from famous, sustainable seafood-loving chefs was an added bonus. As a health journalist, I couldn't get enough of this book. After just one read, the fact-filled book is already covered with highlighted pages and notes. This is a book I'll be reaching for often, not just for work, but for guiding me to make smarter, healthier decisions when feeding my family, too.

This is a book for everyone. It should be required reading not just for foodies and environmentalists, but anyone looking to improve their health and make their seafood spending dollars support positive change.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maybe this should be required reading in high school science classes. Thats what this is really about; the science of what seafood does in our bodies, why we can't live a healthy life without it, and how to eat responsibly to avoid consuming seafood that is not caught sustain ably.
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Format: Hardcover
As the title accurately conveys, this is a practical book with a mission. It is a lively manifesto proposing that we can have our seafood and eat it, too, if we follow a basic triad of recommendations that soon become very familiar. It is an informative, lively and quick read. But like an infomercial, by the end it becomes repetitive and relentless in its marketing - in this case, of the conservation group Oceana.

Feeding the hungry and saving the oceans are sufficiently noble goals in themselves. But the first chapter tries to "hook" us with some dodgy evolutionary theory about how seafood is the healthiest animal protein. That may be true, but that and the cost-efficiency arguments versus livestock seem to sidestep the question of how a plant-based diet could be at least as important to global health.

But this is a book about seafood. With clear, dramatic and specific examples we are shown how badly the oceans' fisheries have been devastated. Yet the tone is persistently constructive and optimistic. And the necessary political and community action is boiled down to realistic advice for individual consumers. Instead of complicated species-based lists, I found the guidelines here powerful in their simplicity: eat wild, smaller, local fish, especially shellfish. For the reviewer of July 2, 2013 who found the entreaty to eat forage fish paradoxical, the solution is tucked in the bottom of page 79: by consuming them directly, we avoid the inefficient process of turning them into farmed predator fish. The freshness of these ideas is the best part of the book.

You'll be out to the tuna $22 for the hardcover of what is basically a 127- page Oceana membership drive, padded with a few recipes.
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Format: Hardcover
(By Perdita Buchan for The Beachcomber, Aug. 17, 2013)
Is that white tuna sushi you ordered really tuna or is it escolar, banned in Japan and known as the ex-lax fish for its digestive effect? Would you feel guilty ordering Patagonian toothfish? What if you knew it had been renamed Chilean sea bass? These are some of the frightening facts that await you in The Perfect Protein (Andy Sharpless and Suzannah Evans, Rodale Press) - a boring title for a fascinating book.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana, "the world's largest conservation organization solely dedicated to protecting the oceans," sort of a Sierra Club of the high seas. The forward by Bill Clinton - better known for his love of fast food - is a bit if a surprise until you remember that the Sustainable Fisheries Act (1996) was passed during his watch, making the United States one of the first of the major fishing nations to make conservation a fundamental part of fisheries management.
If you read Michael Pollan, or support the locavore movement, you know that our fondness for meat and the consequent rise of factory farming is devouring the land while polluting both air and water. Global agriculture uses 70-percent of the world's freshwater and is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, primarily thanks to the resource-intensive production of livestock.
Fewer of us are aware that we are also destroying the world's waters and our supply of fish, in so doing perhaps betraying our very origins. Humans evolved to eat seafood. Sharpless points out that, for us, it is "the perfect protein." In fact, some anthropologists hypothesize that omega-3 fatty acids, abundant in fish, "may have played a prominent role in the development of the modern, advanced human brain.
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