“Four Fish” Examines State of Seafood and the Environment

Ever wonder why the same 4 species—cod, tuna, seabass and salmon—seem to dominate the selection of fish in supermarkets and restaurants around the nation?

Paul Greenberg has, and his inquisitive mind led him to investigate why today’s seafood consumers have such a limited variety of species to choose from and why some fish are more highly valued than others.

Part reminiscence, part history, part environmental treatise, “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food” takes a close look at how and why each of the above species has risen to market prominence. A big reason, it turns out, is advances in aquaculture techniques, which has made it easier to raise fish in a controlled environment and distribute them to a global market. But while aquaculture might at first blush seem a panacea for feeding the world and taking pressure off wild stocks, it comes with a big environmental price. One problem is that all of the above species, while valued in the marketplace, are terribly hard to breed and raise in captivity, and Greenberg serves up what could be more viable alternatives.

In the end, the book, while offering glimpses of hope for the future of the planet’s wild stocks of fish, illustrates how humans have devastated the marine ecosystem and completely knocked it out of balance. As long as the human population of the world continues to climb, the future of wild fish looks bleak.

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