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.
The four fish of the title are salmon, bass, tuna and cod, which are today the world's dominant wild-caught and farmed fish. Mr. Greenberg devotes a long chapter to each of these finned culinary staples. He ties their stories together by showing how each represents one discrete step that humanity has taken, sometimes over hundreds or thousands of years, to increase and control the tasty, nutritious largess of the sea.
Salmon, for example, depend on clean, cold, free-flowing freshwater rivers, and was likely the first fish that early northern-hemisphere humans exploited. Sea bass, which inhabit shallow waters close to shore, were the catch of choice when Europeans first learned how to fish in the ocean.
Cod live further out, off the continental shelves many miles offshore, and were the first fish subject to industrial-scale fishing by mammoth factory ships. Tuna live yet further out, in the deep oceans between the continents, and represent the last food fish that has not yet been "domesticated."