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American Become entangled: The Fight for Our Local Seafood
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American Become entangled: The Fight for Our Local Seafood by Greenberg Paul
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INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS & EDITORS Book Award, Finalist 2014

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


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 nation’s 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 spill’s 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 under¬mine the very spawning grounds that make this great run possible. In his search to discover why this pre¬cious renewable resource isn’t better protected, Green¬berg 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.
Four Fish: The Tomorrow's of the Last Wild Food
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Four Fish: The Tomorrow's of the Last Wild Food by Penguin Books
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"A necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why." -Sam Sifton, The New York Times Book Review.

Writer and life-long fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. Four Fish offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.
Amazon.com Review
Paul Greenberg on Four Fish: Fix the Farm, Not the Salmon

When the New York Times reported in June of 2010 that the US Food and Drug Administration was “seriously considering” approving a genetically modified Atlantic salmon for American consumption the cries from environmentalists and food reformers were, predictably, almost audible on the streets. The AquAdvantage® Salmon uses a “genetic on-switch” from a fish called an ocean pout (a very different animal) in combination with a growth gene from a Chinook salmon to achieve double the growth rate of the unmodified creature. The animal’s creator, AquaBounty Technologies of Waltham, MA asserts that the fish will be sterile and grown in out-of-ocean bio-secure containment structures. Nevertheless the emotional worry of genetic contamination of wild fish, the public preoccupation with health risks a modified salmon could pose, and just the overall ick-factor consumers seem to have about GMO food were all on display across the foodie and environmental blogosphere a few days after the Times article ran.

But, curiously, perhaps the loudest groan that I heard in response to the AquaBounty successes came from salmon farmers. “What I have been noticing over the years,” Thierry Chopin, an aquaculture researcher based in New Brunswick, Canada wrote me, “is that the aquaculture industry is not jumping to embrace what AquaBounty has been proposing.” For years salmon farmers have been waging a public relations war, trying to gain legitimacy as an industry that could be both profitable and produce more food for a hungry world. When a paper published in the journal Nature in 2000 revealed that it took more than three pounds of wild forage fish to grow a single pound of farmed salmon, the salmon industry responded through selective breeding, increased use of soy and other agricultural products and more efficient feeding practices to lower the wild fish use of farmed salmon to the point where some farms claim to have achieved a fish in-fish out ratio of close to 1 pound of wild fish for 1 pound of farmed salmon. When diseases like infectious Salmon Anemia and parasites like sea lice began to run rampant on salmon farms around the world, some regions, like the Bay of Fundy in Canada, instituted better fallowing and crop rotation practices and appear to have had some success in breaking disease and parasite cycles. But in spite of these improvements, a single mention of transgenic salmon in a major media outlet is enough to spoil whatever gains the industry has made in public perception. Indeed, many lay-people I talk with have the impression that transgenic salmon are already a regular part of the farmed salmon market, this despite the fact that there are still no transgenic salmon sold in the United States or anywhere else that I’ve encountered.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely do not believe that the salmon industry has solved its environmental problems. But I do think that it suffers an unfair association with the AquaBounty project and that genetic modification distracts from what investment and research really needs to address. The two biggest problems with farming salmon are:

1) Salmon are grown in sea cages, often anchored amidst wild salmon migration routes. This can cause the fouling of waters with wastes and the transmission of diseases and parasites to already seriously threatened and endangered stocks of wild salmon. Selectively bred fish regularly escape and some suggest they may interfere with the lifecycles of wild fish. Even worse, entirely different species of salmon are often raised in non-native environments. Atlantic salmon are regularly farmed in the Pacific and often escape.

2) Farmed salmon consume a huge amount of wild forage fish. Even though feed efficiency on a per fish basis has improved dramatically, salmon farming overall has grown so much that the per-fish efficiency has been all but erased by a much larger overall presence of salmon farming in the world. Atlantic salmon, once limited to the northern latitudes of the northern hemisphere, are now farmed on every single continent save Antarctica. It’s possible farmed salmon escapees may have even reached that most southerly redoubt. Salmon farms exist as far south as Patagonia, South Africa and Tasmania.

So what is the way forward and how do we deal with this transgenic issue? If I were tsar of all salmon farming and could redirect investment money at will, I might take all of those dollars that go into transgenic research and put that money into really confronting the problems that plague the industry. I might look to developing efficient, above ground, re-circulating aquaculture systems. These facilities allow fish to be grown in temperature-controlled environments without any interaction with the wild. Disease transfer and genetic pollution are greatly reduced if not eliminated altogether. Yonathan Zohar a professor and Chair of the Department of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's has created a test facility right in downtown Baltimore that grows an array of species and even manages to recycle the fish wastes into fuel-grade methane gas that can be used to run pumps or heat water. Though these systems are energy intensive the ability to build them in proximity to markets lessens food miles. Furthermore recirculating systems offer precisely controlled growing conditions and can bring fish to market in half the time as open sea cages.

I might also try to expand on the work of Thierry Chopin who is piloting a program of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture or IMTA where mussels, edible seaweeds, and sea cucumbers are grown in conjunction with salmon in a complex polyculture. Rather than just trying to make an artificially efficient modified salmon, Chopin is trying to make a more efficient system where multiple crops radiate out from a single feed source. Because mussels, sea cucumbers and sea weed can all metabolize the wastes from salmon, they have a potential to neutralize and reuse the effluent that has plagued salmon farms in the past.

Another place I might put my salmon dollars would be the development of alternative feeds that are synthesized from soy and algae and might eventually obviate the need for using wild forage fish in salmon feed.

Finally, I might consider investing in a different fish altogether. Some critics of the aquaculture industry believe we should do away with the farming of salmonids altogether. But to my eye, there is a very entrenched market for salmon flesh and we might be better served finding a different salmon-like fish that has a smaller footprint. The most hopeful alternative I’ve come across is a fish called the arctic char. The arctic char is from the same taxonomic family as salmon, has pretty good feed conversion ratios, rich flesh, and most interestingly of all, because it frequently finds itself crammed into close quarters when its natural arctic lakes freeze, it has high disease resistance and takes extremely well to high stocking densities—densities that are necessary to make out-of-ocean aquaculture operations profitable. And this is exactly what’s happening with char. Most are grown in re-circulating, above ground tanks in Iceland and Canada.

Of course some people will never embrace a farmed solution for fish. There is a camp that feels very strongly that farmed fish are uniformly bad for the world and inferior on the plate. I have to confess that I don’t always share this opinion. Arctic char strike me as a good environmental compromise and to my palate, they’re pretty tasty.

--Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg: A Fish Tale

Paul Greenberg, JBF Award--winning author of Four Fish, talks about sustainable seafood.

Latest News

  • Enemy Without a Name

    02/25/15 ,via Town Hall

    Last week our president and commander- in-chief responded to the latest wave of terrorist attacks around the world by -- calling a seminar. It was a seminar in the style of your college sociology textbook: full of abstract generalities with no

  • Paul Greenberg: Uncertain Trumpet

    02/19/15 ,via Town Hall

    For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? On to certainly not Victory! That would be too definite, too clear, too convincing a goal for a president who, far from convincing the rest of us to support his

Twitter

Paul Greenberg - Enemy Without a Name http://t.co/tww0hEDdJ2 02/26/15, @bwtanker
RT @coreyfishes: My photos paired with a California fish story written by Paul Greenberg @4fishgreenberg http://t.co/vA8QtVFLF0 … http://t.… 02/26/15, @dougmcgray
RT @coreyfishes: My photos paired with a California fish story written by Paul Greenberg @4fishgreenberg http://t.co/vA8QtVFLF0 … http://t.… 02/26/15, @FERNnews

Recipes

  • Paul's Pumpkin Bars

    baking powder, baking soda, butter, cinnamon, powdered sugar, eggs, flour, salt, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, sugar

Books

  • Four Fish

    Penguin. 2010. ISBN: 9781101442296,1101442298. 304 pages.

    Our relationship with the ocean is undergoing a profound transformation. Whereas just three decades ago nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild, rampant overfishing combined with an unprecedented bio-tech revolution has brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex and confusing marketplace. We stand at the edge of a cataclysm; there is a distinct possibility that our children's children will never eat a wild fish that has swum freely in the sea. In Four Fish, award-winning writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey, exploring the history of the fish that dominate our menus---salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna-and examining where each stands at this critical moment in time. He visits Norwegian mega farms that use genetic techniques once pioneered on sheep to grow millions of pounds of salmon a year. He travels to the ancestral river of the Yupik Eskimos to see the only Fair Trade certified fishing company in the world. He investigates the way PCBs and mercury find their way into seafood; discovers how Mediterranean sea bass went global; Challenges the author of Cod to taste the difference between a farmed and a wild cod; and almost sinks to the bottom of the South Pacific while searching for an alternative to endangered bluefin tuna. Fish, Greenberg reveals, are the last truly wild food - for now. By examining the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, he shows how we can start to heal the oceans and fight for a world where healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.

Bing news feed

  • Paul Bloomfield, the doctor who warned against Stephen Dank, joins NRL

    02/26/15 ,via Sydney Morning Herald

    Paul Bloomfield – the man who forced Stephen Dank out of ... officers who have complete oversight for medical decision making. Head of football Todd Greenberg said the NRL made progress in dealing with head injuries with the introduction of the ...

  • Paul Bloomfield named new NRL CMO

    02/25/15 ,via Daily Mail

    The NRL have appointed Dr Paul Bloomfield as the code's chief medical officer ... NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said the group was formed following recommendations from the new best practice review aimed at improving player safety.

  • Warrington buys demo fire engine at discount

    02/25/15 ,via theintell.com

    Paul said that when the exact tally for the truck is completed ... but during daytime hours when most volunteers are at work is when the paid firefighters are needed. Greenberg said he was really happy that he found out about the demo being available ...

Directory

Paul Greenberg, author of American Catch and Four Fish

Welcome to the website of Paul Greenberg author of the James Beard Award winning bestseller Four Fish and American Catch.

Paul Greenberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paul Greenberg may refer to: Paul Greenberg (producer) Film/Commercial Producer Paul Greenberg (journalist) (born 1937), winner of Pulitzer Prize for Editorial ...

Paul Greenberg - IMDb

Paul Greenberg, Writer: Jackass. Paul Greenberg was born as Paul Ari Greenberg. He is a writer and producer, known for Jackass (2000), The 87th Annual Academy Awards ...

Paul Greenberg (@pgreenbe) | Twitter

Paul Greenberg @ pgreenbe. CRM and SCRM author, consultant, speaker. Loves family, friends, all animals and, of course, the NY Yankees

Paul Greenberg - The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Writer ...

Paul Greenberg - The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Writer ...

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg
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Paul Greenberg, Southerner, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ...

Paul Greenberg, Southerner, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ...

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