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Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood

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Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood Cover

ISBN13: 9781596912250
ISBN10: 1596912251
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An eye-opening look at aquaculture that does for seafood what Fast Food Nation did for beef.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious — and humane — plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the 55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

At once entertaining and illuminating, Bottomfeeder is a thoroughly enjoyable look at the world's cuisines and an examination of the fishing and farming practices we too easily take for granted.

Review:

"In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe (The Devil's Picnic) whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the 'turbid and murky' Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the 'cell from hell,' a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying protective mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks — a collapsing fishery — finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup: 'living sharks have their pectoral and dorsal fins cut from their bodies with heated metal blades.... The sharks are kicked back into the ocean, alive and bleeding; it can take them days to die.' But these horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines with 'fat-jeweled juices' or a luscious breakfast of bluefin tuna sashimi, 'cool and moist... halfway between a demi-sel Breton butter and an unctuous steak tartare'; the latter is a dish that, due to the fish's endangered status, Grescoe decides he won't enjoy again. The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through. Grescoe provides a helpful list of which fish to eat: 'no, never,' 'depends, sometimes' and 'absolutely, always.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

An eye-opening look at aquaculture that does for seafood what Fast Food Nation did for beef.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious—and humane—plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

At once entertaining and illuminating, Bottomfeeder is a thoroughly enjoyable look at the worlds cuisines and an examination of the fishing and farming practices we too easily take for granted.

Taras Grescoe is the author of The Devils Picnic and Sacre Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec, which was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Award and was a national bestseller in Canada. His work appears in major publications all over the U.S., the UK, and Canada, including the Times, National Geographic, Independent, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), National Geographic Traveler, and the New York Times. He lives in Montreal.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious—and humane—plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

Bottomfeeder highlights the diversity, complexity, and fragility of our oceans. Its an important reminder that we all have to take better care of our oceans if we want seafood in our future.”—David Suzuki, co-founder, David Suzuki Foundation

“If you're a seafood lover, pick up this guide to which fish are the best for our bodies and which are best for the environment.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Research that brings muckraking books such as ‘Fast Food Nation to mind.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“From pollutants to piracy, preservatives to Patagonian toothfish, Grescoe surveys the state of our collective waterways in Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, which combines some literal seabed muckraking with a fascinating travelogue . . . [An] aquatic The Omnivore's Dilemma.”—Gothamist

“Fascinating . . . will inform many about the dire state of the oceans, expose the dreadful environmental consequences of badly managed aquaculture, and prompt us to make better seafood choices . . . With clear, compelling writing, Grescoe covers a vast array of topics ranging from ecology (e.g. how overfishing affects ecosystems), cooking and eating (a trip to a Japanese restaurant that serves whale meat), economics (the business of black-market cod), and history.”—Ethicurean

“Grescoe takes us on an international tour of controversial cuisines—shark fin soup in China, whale sashimi in Japan, monkfish tail in New York City—meanwhile offering an overview of the corrupt practices that have put the oceans (and our health) in danger. The portrait he paints is grim: oceanic dead zones that, because of pollution and overfishing, can no longer support organic life; salmon farms polluted by pesticides and disease; ruthless bottom trawlers with nets that can destroy entire ecosystems. A warning is not a death sentence, however. The book empowers consumers to ask the right questions—if the halibut is from the Atlantic or Pacific, for instance, and whether the lobster pasta is actually made from monkfish, which is endangered. And asking these questions will make it possible to enjoy seafood for years to come.”—Salon.com

“Grescoe's tale hits all the right notes. It's an entree you'll remember.”—Fortune Small Business

“In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the turbid and murky Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the cell from hell, a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying protective mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks—a collapsing fishery—finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup: living sharks have their pectoral and dorsal fins cut from their bodies with heated metal blades . . . The sharks are kicked back into the ocean, alive and bleeding; it can take them days to die. But these horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines with fat-jeweled juices or a luscious breakfast of bluefin tuna sashimi, cool and moist . . . halfway between a demi-sel Breton butter and an unctuous steak tartare; the latter is a dish that, due to the fish's endangered status, Grescoe decides he won't enjoy again. The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through. Grescoe provides a helpful list of which fish to eat: no, never, depends, sometimes and absolutely, always.”—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Taras Grescoe is the author of The Devil's Picnic and Sacre Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec, which was shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Award and was a national bestseller in Canada. His work appears in major publications all over the U.S., the UK, and Canada, including the Times, National Geographic, Independent, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), National Geographic Traveler, and the New York Times. He lives in Montreal.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

ktdkatrinad, July 3, 2008 (view all comments by ktdkatrinad)
Bottomfeeder is to seafood what Omnivore's Dilemma is to corn, what Uncertain Peril is to the seed. This book is a top of the list read for anyone with an appetite for fish and half a conscious to eat responsibly.

Part travelogue, part food memoir, part wake up call to the state of global fish stocks, Taras begins his journey of seafood in NYC exploring fish on the menus of four star restaurants. He travels to the fish markets of Japan for an investigation of blue fin tuna, to Marseilles for bouillabaisse and with many stops in between ends in Nova Scotia at a factory for fishsticks. In each place he eats the local catch, explores the history, traditions and present day wild stocks of seafood. And he interacts with salty characters on every shore.

... Following him down to the waterfront, I watched him strip to his trunks, don flippers and a snorkel mask, and swim a few yards out to his racks of oysters..... Emerging from the water, he bade me follow him into a stone toolshed, where he responded to all my questions while standing unselfconsciously naked. (He explained that it is healthier to let the breeze dry one off after swimming.)

Each chapter puts a face to the men and women fishing, farming or working the fisheries. The people that experience or deny first hand the affects of overfishing, of destructive methods of aquaculture, invasive species, dead zones and unsustainable fishing methods.

... As I was shown more sores and patches of dry skin on slender arms and legs, the old woman with the thick glasses took my notepad and wrote in it, in a schoolgirlish hand: "Dysentery. Ulcer. Womitting. Itching. Breathing problem." All of them, Selapan explained, were maladies that afflicted the people of Riverbank Street since the shrimp farms arrived.

And each destination brings to the surface new challenges to maintaining species of fish native to our varied cultural diets. But Grescoe doesn't let the book drown in despair. He is a constant fish eater with no plans to give it up. He chooses his fish wisely and hopes we will too.

Several times reading this book I day dreamed taking up post at the local fish counter with a patent leather purse on the crook of my arm. And swinging it at people that ordered fish from the list to avoid. Tara's takes a smarter approach. ... knowledge is power, he writes.

My fierceness would be more effective copying and distributing the appendix from Bottomfeeder that includes tools for choosing seafood with informational web sites, principles to follow, questions to ask. He succinctly explains and categorizes the good, bad and the ugly of fishing methods. And he gives his opinion of seafood to never, sometimes or absolutely indulge in.

While the contents of the entire book are relevant and important beyond the fish we find or don't find on our plates there are two chapters that stand out. The first deconstructs shrimp farming in India and the second focuses on salmon farming in British Columbia. Reading them you may find yourself considering a patent leather purse as I did.

But remember, knowledge is power and we can no longer afford to be ignorant of the way sea food arrives on our plate. The price has a face and it's much too high.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781596912250
Subtitle:
How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood
Author:
Grescoe, Taras
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Cookery (seafood)
Subject:
Marine resources conservation
Subject:
Specific Ingredients - Seafood
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080429
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Sustainable Cooking
Home and Garden » Sustainable Living » Food

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596912250 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe (The Devil's Picnic) whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the 'turbid and murky' Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the 'cell from hell,' a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying protective mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks — a collapsing fishery — finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup: 'living sharks have their pectoral and dorsal fins cut from their bodies with heated metal blades.... The sharks are kicked back into the ocean, alive and bleeding; it can take them days to die.' But these horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines with 'fat-jeweled juices' or a luscious breakfast of bluefin tuna sashimi, 'cool and moist... halfway between a demi-sel Breton butter and an unctuous steak tartare'; the latter is a dish that, due to the fish's endangered status, Grescoe decides he won't enjoy again. The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through. Grescoe provides a helpful list of which fish to eat: 'no, never,' 'depends, sometimes' and 'absolutely, always.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
An eye-opening look at aquaculture that does for seafood what Fast Food Nation did for beef.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious—and humane—plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

At once entertaining and illuminating, Bottomfeeder is a thoroughly enjoyable look at the worlds cuisines and an examination of the fishing and farming practices we too easily take for granted.

Taras Grescoe is the author of The Devils Picnic and Sacre Blues: An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec, which was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Award and was a national bestseller in Canada. His work appears in major publications all over the U.S., the UK, and Canada, including the Times, National Geographic, Independent, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), National Geographic Traveler, and the New York Times. He lives in Montreal.

Dividing his sensibilities between Epicureanism and ethics, Taras Grescoe set out on a nine-month, worldwide search for a delicious—and humane—plate of seafood. What he discovered shocked him. From North American Red Lobsters to fish farms and research centers in China, Bottomfeeder takes readers on an illuminating tour through the $55-billion-dollar-a-year seafood industry. Grescoe examines how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change affect what ends up on our plate. More than a screed against a multibillion-dollar industry, however, this is also a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas, and our bodies.

Bottomfeeder highlights the diversity, complexity, and fragility of our oceans. Its an important reminder that we all have to take better care of our oceans if we want seafood in our future.”—David Suzuki, co-founder, David Suzuki Foundation

“If you're a seafood lover, pick up this guide to which fish are the best for our bodies and which are best for the environment.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Research that brings muckraking books such as ‘Fast Food Nation to mind.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“From pollutants to piracy, preservatives to Patagonian toothfish, Grescoe surveys the state of our collective waterways in Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, which combines some literal seabed muckraking with a fascinating travelogue . . . [An] aquatic The Omnivore's Dilemma.”—Gothamist

“Fascinating . . . will inform many about the dire state of the oceans, expose the dreadful environmental consequences of badly managed aquaculture, and prompt us to make better seafood choices . . . With clear, compelling writing, Grescoe covers a vast array of topics ranging from ecology (e.g. how overfishing affects ecosystems), cooking and eating (a trip to a Japanese restaurant that serves whale meat), economics (the business of black-market cod), and history.”—Ethicurean

“Grescoe takes us on an international tour of controversial cuisines—shark fin soup in China, whale sashimi in Japan, monkfish tail in New York City—meanwhile offering an overview of the corrupt practices that have put the oceans (and our health) in danger. The portrait he paints is grim: oceanic dead zones that, because of pollution and overfishing, can no longer support organic life; salmon farms polluted by pesticides and disease; ruthless bottom trawlers with nets that can destroy entire ecosystems. A warning is not a death sentence, however. The book empowers consumers to ask the right questions—if the halibut is from the Atlantic or Pacific, for instance, and whether the lobster pasta is actually made from monkfish, which is endangered. And asking these questions will make it possible to enjoy seafood for years to come.”—Salon.com

“Grescoe's tale hits all the right notes. It's an entree you'll remember.”—Fortune Small Business

“In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the turbid and murky Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the cell from hell, a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying protective mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks—a collapsing fishery—finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup: living sharks have their pectoral and dorsal fins cut from their bodies with heated metal blades . . . The sharks are kicked back into the ocean, alive and bleeding; it can take them days to die. But these horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines with fat-jeweled juices or a luscious breakfast of bluefin tuna sashimi, cool and moist . . . halfway between a demi-sel Breton butter and an unctuous steak tartare; the latter is a dish that, due to the fish's endangered status, Grescoe decides he won't enjoy again. The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through. Grescoe provides a helpful list of which fish to eat: no, never, depends, sometimes and absolutely, always.”—Publishers Weekly

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