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Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a…

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood (2008)

by Taras Grescoe

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seriously. it's fantastic. it should be required reading for everyone.

here's the thing - i don't eat fish or other seafood. ever. i have an anaphylactic allergy to shellfish and bivalves. as well, most other fish and seafood triggers some fairly bad reactions in my system. BUT...my husband could live on a mediterranean or portuguese diet and be happy, happy, happy. i am also a very curious person and i want to know what's going on in this world. i have a particular interest in eating in a socially and ethically responsible manner. for those reasons, this book was a must for me. i am just bummed it took me 5 years to get to it.

some of the information is not new. i have been making informed purchases of fish and seafood for many years. but a lot of the information was new. and fascinating. grescoe has a wonderful ability of delivering the facts and science in a very engaging and approachable way. the structure of the boo is fantastic. each chapter is like a little case study. a species is examined - the supply, the demand, the problems and the science - and explained. grescoe has travelled the world in researching this book and is clearly very passionate about the seafood industry and about the choices he makes for his diet.

yes -- it's a fairly doomed situation. but the book is also hopeful. grescoe included helpful resources and recommendations for how you can become a 'bottomfeeder'. it's better than it sounds. i swear!

my only wish (and it's my own damn fault!!) is that the book i just read was filled with 2012 information rather than 2007 stats. i don't know what's better or worse since then, but i am betting things have changed. ( )
  Booktrovert | Sep 20, 2013 |
Searing indictment of the seafood industry. Well-written, informative but not without hope. There are also fascinating descriptions of strange and wonderful foods the author has eaten- including the pellets fed to farmed salmon (not very tasty, believe it or not).

I found that much of what I thought I knew about seafood was wrong, especially farmed fish.

If you eat any sort of fish at all, you really ought to read this book. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Amazing, if discouraging. A tour of fishing around the world, with each chapter focusing on a specific food and location. So: sardines in the Mediterranean, shrimp in India, salmon in BC, bluefin tuna in Japan, etc. He treats his subjects, both fish and human, with sensitivity. Great descriptive language of both the horrible and the sublime.

There's a useful appendix about fishing methods (good, bad, ugly), and specific fish (never, sometimes, always) -- shrimp and tuna in particular come off very poorly.

Very highly recommended! ( )
  epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
Good overview of the difficulties of eating seafood sustainably. Unlike some other books in this genre, this one actually offered good tips and alternatives to overfished or unsustainable choices. ( )
  Jthierer | Jun 25, 2009 |
Bottomfeeder is the seafood equivalent of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Its main premise: as the purchase price of a seafood decreases, humane practices and sustainability also plummet ... and environmental and health costs skyrocket.

Densely written, it's as much travelogue/foodie memoir as science; it’s also a primer on global culture, politics, and business. Each chapter explores the history and current state of one type of fish or seafood (e.g. bluefin tuna, cod, lobster, oyster, salmon, shrimp) ... and most chapters build to Grescoe’s despairing lament: “Cheap [name any seafood], I now knew, was a meal I could no longer afford.”

But so as not to give up entirely, the concluding section lists resources for making good-for-you, good-for-the-planet seafood choices -- including pocket reference guides and even websites that are searchable by cell phone while you peruse the menu at your favorite restaurant. ( )
3 vote DetailMuse | Oct 11, 2008 |
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"Just when opting for omega-3-rich seafood is being recognized as one of the healthiest dietary choices a person can make, the news seems to be full of stories about mercury-laden tuna, shrimp contaminated with antibiotics, and diminishing fish stocks. In a world of endangered cod, pirate-caught Chilean sea bass, and sea-lice-infested salmon, can we really continue to order the catch of the day in good conscience? Is it still even good for us? Bottomfeeder is the story of a seafood lover's round-the-world quest for a truly decent meal. From a strip-mall Red Lobster to the rotary-sushi bars of Tokyo, Taras Grescoe travels to the end of the seafood supply chain and back. What he discovers is shocking: how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and climate change are affecting the fish that end up on our plate."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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