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American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood


American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood Cover

ISBN13: 9781594204487
ISBN10: 1594204489
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Publisher Comments:

In American Catch, award-winning author Paul Greenberg takes the same skills that won him acclaim in Four Fish to uncover the tragic unraveling of the nations seafood supply — telling the surprising story of why Americans stopped eating from their own waters.

In 2005, the United States imported five billion pounds of seafood, nearly double what we imported twenty years earlier. Bizarrely, during that same period, our seafood exports quadrupled. American Catch examines New York oysters, Gulf shrimp, and Alaskan salmon to reveal how it came to be that 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat is foreign.

In the 1920s, the average New Yorker ate six hundred local oysters a year. Today, the only edible oysters lie outside city limits. Following the trail of environmental desecration, Greenberg comes to view the New York City oyster as a reminder of what is lost when local waters are not valued as a food source.

Farther south, a different catastrophe threatens another seafood-rich environment. When Greenberg visits the Gulf of Mexico, he arrives expecting to learn of the Deepwater Horizon oil spills lingering effects on shrimpers, but instead finds that the more immediate threat to business comes from overseas. Asian-farmed shrimp — cheap, abundant, and a perfect vehicle for the frying and sauces Americans love — have flooded the American market.

Finally, Greenberg visits Bristol Bay, Alaska, home to the biggest wild sockeye salmon run left in the world. A pristine, productive fishery, Bristol Bay is now at great risk: The proposed Pebble Mine project could undermine the very spawning grounds that make this great run possible. In his search to discover why this precious renewable resource isn't better protected, Greenberg encounters a shocking truth: the great majority of Alaskan salmon is sent out of the country, much of it to Asia. Sockeye salmon is one of the most nutritionally dense animal proteins on the planet, yet Americans are shipping it abroad.

Despite the challenges, hope abounds. In New York, Greenberg connects an oyster restoration project with a vision for how the bivalves might save the city from rising tides. In the Gulf, shrimpers band together to offer local catch direct to consumers. And in Bristol Bay, fishermen, environmentalists, and local Alaskans gather to roadblock Pebble Mine. With American Catch, Paul Greenberg proposes a way to break the current destructive patterns of consumption and return American catch back to American eaters.


"A fascinating discussion of a multifaceted issue and a passionate call to action." Kirkus

About the Author

Paul Greenberg is the author of the James Beard Award–winning bestseller Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and a regular contributor to the New York Times. He has been featured on NPR's Fresh Air and All Things Considered and has lectured widely on ocean issues at institutions ranging from Google to Yale to the U.S. Senate. He is currently a Pew fellow in Marine Conservation and a fellow with the Blue Ocean Institute.



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Cristal Cadwallader, July 6, 2014 (view all comments by Cristal Cadwallader)
Oysters. Terroir and meroir are interesting. So is "oyster-tecture." How a city can grow and befoul itself. Six hundred million gallons of raw sewage a day! "The solution to pollution is dilution." NOT! Frankly, I do not eat oysters, period, no matter where they come from.
Embarrassing being human and seeing what we have done. Amazing thinking that with nature's help things might go back to nature.
Shrimp. And oil. And gold. This seems the same story as oysters. Salmon. Will that be any different? There is a good chance they have already done a lot of damage. And we are what we eat? But I understood from The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals that I was a walking corn chip. I might not have any other choice if the future is a continuation of the past.
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Product Details

The Fight for Our Local Seafood
Greenberg, Paul
Penguin Press HC, The
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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