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Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Written by Paul Greenberg

Narrated by Christopher Lane


Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Written by Paul Greenberg

Narrated by Christopher Lane

ratings:
4/5 (29 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Released:
Jul 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441872463
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Our relationship with the ocean is undergoing a profound transformation. 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 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 investigating where each stands at this critical moment in time. He visits Norwegian megafarms 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 makes clear how 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.

Released:
Jul 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441872463
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Paul Greenberg is founder & Managing Principal of The 56 Group, LLC, an advisory firm, focused on customer-facing strategic services, including CRM, customer experience and customer engagement strategies. His book, CRM at the Speed of Light now in its 4th edition, is in 9 languages and been called "the bible of the CRM industry". It has been used by more than 70 universities as a primary text. Currently, Paul sits on the Global Advisory Board of the SEAT Consortium as the only non-sports professional of a sports business professionals organization. Prior to this, Paul has been the EVP of the CRM Association, the Chairman of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management CRM Centre of Excellence Board of Advisors, a Board of Advisors member of the Baylor University MBA Program for CRM majors, & co-chairman of Rutgers University's CRM Research Center. Paul works both with customer-facing technology vendors and practitioners to craft go-to-market strategies, engagement programs, product development road maps, marketing/messaging & outreach among other things. Paul is considered a thought leader in CRM and often called "The Godfather of CRM." He has been published in numerous industry and business publications over the years. He was elected to CRM magazine's CRM Hall of Fame in 2010 - the first non-vendor related thought leader in its history. He also writes on customer-facing matters for CBS's ZDNet high profile tech media property (www.zdnet.com/blogs/crm). He has won dozens of industry awards over the years in CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service as an influencer and thought leader. He has just released a book on customer engagement entitled "The Commonwealth of Self-Interest: Customer Engagement, Business Benefit" (He also recently launched a new blog in addition to his ZDNet blog, called "The Science of Business, the Art of Life and Live from NY..." and a podcast "The Commonwealth." Paul currently lives in Manassas, Virginia with his wife of more than 35 years and 7 cats (yes, 7) - and to be entirely clear - is a HUGE New York Yankees fan.


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Reviews

What people think about Four Fish

4.2
29 ratings / 19 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Four Fish is a pretty good narrative non-fiction book about four fish in four chapters. It is written in a magazine article style with a mix of anecdote, personal story, human interest story, scientific factoids, history, etc..The question Greenberg is most often asked is "What fish should I eat?" and he shows how difficult that question is, but also provides guidance. For example we all know wild salmon is better than farmed, but is that still true in 2010? Greenberg has some surprising answers. It is strongest talking about the future of fish (which is the subtitle) and I learned a lot about fish farming, omega-3's, fish food, etc.. The book is not limited to just four fish as Greenberg looks at a lot of substitute fish such as Tilapia. Greenberg seems to briefly touch on and update lots of common perceived wisdom about fish with the latest developments. For example the status of the Cod grounds off New England which have been closed since the collapse in the early 1990s.Greenberg is a "seafood writer" (journalist) and this is his first book, previously he has written for magazines. His pedigree is a New England sports fisherman. The book is not "helicopter journalism" (writing outside field of expertise), it's not "green journalism" (although he does call it a "fish in trouble book"). Greenberg personally, and for enjoyment, spends time on party boats, gets up at 3am for Canyon tuna runs, while spewing his guts out in 5 foot seas and reeling in a barrel sized tuna. He doesn't make a big deal of it, but anyone whose done these things themselves will appreciate Greenberg's perspective as a sports fisherman. He believes small scale fisherman make better stewards of fish stock than large scale factory ships.I'd recommend the book to anyone who fishes, in particular the northeast since that is where some of the anecdotal stories are set - but Greenberg also travels to Vietnam, Norway, Alaska. If you've ever asked what fish to eat, this is a deeper and more nuanced answer that should also provide plenty of table talk. Finally it's just a breezy and enjoyable way to learn more about the current status of "fish in trouble", what's being done, and what to expect in the future. I came away cautiously optimistic.
  • (4/5)
    I've now read 7ish popular books about fisheries management, and they're still interesting. Greenberg structures his book around four very popular edible fish, and provides some science, history and wild stock assessments for each of them.This book differentiates itself in its wealth of information about fish aquaculture: Greenberg describes the early work that went into understanding breeding hormones and selecting fish populations suited to aquaculture and brings several of the scientists and aquaculture pioneers to life on the page. He makes a compelling argument that we have chosen to farm fish that are very ill-suited to aquaculture, including salmon and tuna.Altogether a good addition to the fisheries management library, or as a stand-alone.
  • (5/5)
    Good and important
  • (3/5)
    The author makes a convincing case for some measures which must be taken to preserve the wild stocks and to promote responsible fish farming methods worldwide.
  • (4/5)
    Extremely informative and readable.
  • (4/5)
    My opinion of this book can be encapsulated by an actual conversation I had on the train after putting the book away before disembarking:

    Nice stranger lady: "Were you just reading the fish book by Greenberg?"
    Me: "Why yes, I was."
    NSL: "Isn't it an amazing book?"
    Me: "You know, it really is. I'm really enjoying it, it's very good."
    NSL: "I also enjoyed it very much."
    Me: "Know what I find most interesting about it?"
    NSL: "What's that?"
    Me: "It's about the most boring topic in the world, yet I'm enthralled by all the detail."
    NSL: "I know! Isn't that interesting! I thought the same thing! It's fish! Yet, this book is awesome!"
    Me: "Indeed, oh, I'm going this way. Have a nice day."
    NSL: "You too, thank you."

    The book is mesmerizing in its exquisite detail. I generally love hearing experts speak, whether at book readings, conferences, lectures or via written media. Scarcely have I come across a person who could conceivably answer any question thrown at him in the field of his/her endeavors. Greenberg is an ace, who took a boyhood interest to the most wonderful, educational apex. As well, he has quality proposed solutions to the various consumerism crises as well. A marvelous literary achievement and a glorious, breathtaking read.
  • (3/5)
    A very interesting read. The history of four fish. Past life. Farming. Future. Salmon. Sea Bass. Cod. Tuna. Very informative. I definitely recommend. I'm one of those folks who try to eat "responsibly." He takes on the issue of how much this matters. Maybe not all that much. But I'll still keep this direction. I recently found a cookbook that maps to thinking about what is a reasonable approach to seafood. Living as I do in the Pugent Sound, lots of amazing seafood. This is a pressing and important issue to me. Here is a cookbook about seafood, framed by the same issues as "Four Fish." I definitely recommend this book too: For Cod and Country, Simple Delicious Sustainable Cooking by Barton Seaver. Also focuses on cooking with seasonal food. Both of these are issues that become increasingly important to me.

    So I recommend both books. (Did 4 fish on my kindle.)
  • (5/5)
    An excellent reading on the part of Christopher Lane. It was as if he'd written the book. And who'd think a book about fish could be so captivating and educationally enlightening at the same time?
  • (4/5)
    Awesome novel. I love it. You can join in NovelStar writing contest with a theme "WEREWOLVES" Prices are amazing! https://author.starlight.ink/essay/index.html (PC) http://app.novelstar.top/index/index/special/id/87 or email any of the following editors; hardy@novelstar.top joye@novelstar.top lena@novelstar.top app.novelstar.top
  • (5/5)
    The book seems to be a fairly balanced report that concentrates on the state and future of the four fish: salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna. Why these ones, and why four? Well, there are apparently four mammals that humanity chose to domesticate: cows, sheep, goats and pigs, and four birds: chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys, so following that pattern and Michael Pollan’s idea of ‘a natural history of four meals’, Greenberg is looking at four fish we eat most often. He looks at the state of their stocks around the world and their domestication and preservation efforts. His account seems to be well balanced- he is neither an activist preaching doom and gloom, nor is he a fishing industry enthusiast. The fact that he is a passionate, yet compassionate, fisherman himself, adds a nice personal touch to his narration. Which doesn't mean that he is optimistic about what he sees and investigates. He is rather pessimistic about the wild fish chances of survival unless we decide to see and treat them as wildlife and not as food. He advocates getting away from eating wild endangered species, developing sustainable fish farming practices and establishing global no-catch zones. Global being the operative word here. It’s a very nicely written book, with quite a bit of history. Just a bit of criticism: Greenberg complains that people don’t even know what the fish they eat look like, and yes, this is mostly true in my case. I may know salmon, herring, carp, but do I know what pollock or tuna look like? Or, how the yellow fin is different from the blue fin tuna? No idea, so he is evidently right, yet he doesn’t include any pictures in his book.I would also like to see fish farms work, yet so far have big reservations. I see multiple problems to what the things are like with the farmed fish right now. For one, salmon farms pollute the waters and spread sea lice. They give the sea lice to the wild fish, causing them to weaken and die. Farmed salmon suffer from a host of diseases- I am even wondering what's the condition of the fish we eat. Farmed salmon also escape and may breed with the wild salmon, and who knows to what detrimental effect. Besides, one of the ways to get rid of the high levels of PCB and mercury is to feed salmon a vegetarian feed. Some fish farmers have started doing that. The feed consists mainly of corn and flax seeds from what I understood. I am wondering how it's going to change the taste of the fish flesh, and the nutrients it offers, not to mention how it's going to affect people like me, those who have lots of allergies. Then we have all the panga fish (sea bass) bred in Vietnam. Yes, it's very cheap and tasty, but who knows what chemicals lurk in its flesh. Regulators say illegal antibiotics have been found in many of them. Not that pork or chicken are in any better, though.I was at Costco today, and I must say I was thoroughly disgusted to sea yellow fin tuna steaks to buy. I am pretty sure Costco wasn't doing anything illegal, but they shouldn't be promoting endangered species consumption in any way in my opinion.
  • (4/5)
    Charming and informative book about humankind's relationship with its last wild food, and how to preserve it for future generations.
  • (4/5)
    Clear-eyed reporting on the state of the fisheries (pre-BP-spill). Greenberg is a long-time fisherman, passionate about fish and well-informed as to their history and future. Such as it is for species such as the bluefin tuna. I learned so much about fish farming in this book that I forgive Greenberg for making me cry over the stupidity and cupidity of humanity.

    Highly recommended if you are a wildlife fan or if you eat fish. The short answer is- there's little to nothing that can be achieved by end consumers boycotting individual species of fish- the paradigm has to change, as it did for whales. The examination of the lenses through which humans view fish was completely riveting.
  • (4/5)
    What on the surface appeared to be a science-based review of four key fishing industries, turned out to be a more personal tale of the author's connection to the ocean and the wildlife that inhabits it. The book is well researched and does not over simplify the issues. The author wins my respect for his honesty and willingness to put forward ideas to achieve sustainable fishing practices in our oceans and rivers. 
  • (5/5)
    An amazing book about our relationship with fish and their habitat and where we stand at this critical moment in time. The focus is on the history of four fish that humans have relied on and/or attempted to domesticate; salmon, bass, tuna, and cod. This book provides insight into our relationship with nature and what needs to be done to create healthy and sustainable seafood for the future of our planet, while preserving this last wild natural resource.
  • (2/5)
    Nice read, but important issues are not addressed. You learn a lot about the different kind of fish but for example I missed the genetic manipulated salmon. It was published 2011 so the problem was already there when Paul Greenberg wrote this book.
  • (4/5)
    Like most people I was expecting something along the lines of Kurlanskys Cod, but this book is at the same time less focused on any single fish, and more focused on the interplay between humans and fish.The underlying question is 'What fish should we eat?', but as any good book he asks more questions than he answers.He looks at four fish that over the last couple of decades have dominated the seafood counters (Salmon, Sea-bass, Cod and Tuna). He looks at these individually and asks the question 'Is this resource utilized in a sustainable way'. The answers aren't always simple and for Salmon for example he shows that current fish-farming practises aren't necessarily very good, but that we can't keep harvesting these diminishing resources forever. He looks at an attempt to farm cod, which was apparently even worse. And the current attempts at herding Tuna are comparatively disastrous, as they rely on catching young fish and fatten them in captivity.The answer might be to move to some other species, such as 'Pangasius' (a fresh-water fish farmed in Thailand) to replace cod or 'Almaco Jack' to replace Tuna. These species demand much less feed and reproduce freely in captivity.One question that remains unanswered is where we take the fish-meal that's used as feed in pisciculture. My guess is that most of it comes from large commercial operations harvesting herring and other small fish, and I would have appreciated a chapter on 'Herring'.
  • (4/5)
    A very interesting book, and very revealing to someone like me who knows little about fishing or aquaculture. Although I agree with an earlier reviewer that the last chapter, on tuna, isn't as good as the ones on Salmon, Bass and Cod, none the less its compelling. I can't help thinking this would form the basis of an excellent 4 part documentary Greenberg's position as an angler, and clear enjoyment of eating wild fish ensures that its a very human book - there is no moral high ground, or environmental holier than thou ism here.And perhaps a will think a little harder about the fish I eat, although as Greenberg points out, without a policy goal at the end of it, its a fairly self indulgent decision. Recommended
  • (5/5)
    This book convinced me to stop eating fish. I was already pescavegetarian. Although that is not the books point of view.
  • (3/5)
    "Hypocrite", the author's own daughter calls him out for eating endangered fish species while pontificating in the New York Times to do the opposite. His hipocrisy does not end there: His main goal is to make fish available cheap and ubiquituous to Americans, to catch, to eat or to feed their animals. The ecological madness of shipping fish by air from Alaska to New York or from Vietnam to California is of little concern to him. He carries the water for the big commercial fishing operations which are at the core of the problem but in Greenberg's blind spot. His villains are intransigent natives doing their subsistence fishing or those crazy foreigners unwilling to see and follow US directions. Apart from this huge bias, Greenberg's main weakness is his lack of understanding economics and the tragedy of the commons.Just like climate change, overfishing is a solvable global problem, if, and only if the US is willing to play ball in a fair way. To solve the problem, rich nations essentially have to compensate poorer fishing nations not to fish and to provide those fishermen with other means of living (i.e. not piracy). Prohibition without control and compensation naturally doesn't work. Greenberg's own text shows, which he somehow only grudgingly accepts, the effectiveness of pressuring large fishing products corporations to do what is in their own best longterm interest. Thus, while the book gives an excellent introduction to the development and promise of aquaculture, it fails to address the overall ecological question and totally neglects the global angle of distributive justice. The solution is simple: People should eat mostly local, seasonal fish supplemented by ecologically sound aquaculture raised fish.The four chapters that give the book its title are of highly unequal quality. The first two about salmon and bass are of high quality and tell interesting stories about the transformation from abundance to crisis to aquaculture. The next two chapter about cod and tuna suffer from the fact that Greenberg's preferred solution of aquaculture does not work economically for these two kind of fish. Greenberg also starts to drift from his chapter topic. The tuna chapter is all over the place, dealing mostly with swordfish and whales. Selecting two other sucessfully fishfarmed fish (such as trout) might have resulted in a more coherent book. The big boy would have to grow up and relinquishing the romantic dreams about catching fish. Thanks to modern technology, it is a slaughter not a sport, hence the overfishing. Overall, a readable if biased account of the promise of aquaculture.