An essay in Sunday's New York Times made a compelling case for wild seafood and marked a path to sustainability based on consumers' selections and Alaska's proven model
by Craig Weatherby
Yesterday's edition of The New York Times really made our day.
This writer met Times quick-recipe guru Mark Bittman in the early 1990's, when we crossed paths while serving as fellow ink-stained wretches for the now-defunct magazine Natural Health.
He went on to serve as the executive editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine, and Mark has since achieved national fame for “The Minimalist,” his godsend of a New York Times column custom-tailored for amateur cooks.
(Mark is shown at left above, with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, in the kitchen at the restaurant Jean Georges.)
But in yesterday's Times, Mark stepped outside his usual role to pen a superior summary of the state of wild seafood, its culinary superiority to farmed fish, and the steps needed to restore wild stocks to abundance.
We urge you to read his article in yesterday's New York Times, titled “A Seafood Snob Ponders the Future of Fish.”
Unsurprisingly, Mark starts by underlining the poor eating quality of the products of industrial fish farming.
As he writes, “…its products generally don't taste so good, at least compared to the wild stuff… It seems unlikely that farm-raised striped bass will ever taste remotely like its fierce, graceful progenitor, or that anyone who's had fresh Alaskan sockeye can take farmed salmon seriously… Myself, I'd rather eat wild cod once a month and sardines once a week than farm-raised salmon, ever.”
More importantly, he presents a factually solid analysis of the inefficiencies of industrial fish farming, and the ways in which regulators and consumers can cooperate to restore wild fish stocks to sustainable levels.
He sketches the damage that industrial fish farming does to wild stocks and the marine environment:
The solution he offers reflects common sense and is based on sound science.
In short, Mark Bittman advocates three basic steps:
Vital Choices for an optimistic outlook
We're doing our bit to make Mark Bittman's third tactic possible by offering superior Portuguese sardines and—sometime next month—succulent canned Atlantic mackerel.
Our hats are off to Mark Bittman for a clear-eyed, practical look at a possible future for seafood.
This potential outcome will only occur if voters and consumers step up to the plate.
In addition to old favorites like tuna, salmon, halibut, and cod, that plate must come to include sardines, mackerel, herring, and other small but wonderfully flavorful fish... all of which are very high in healthful mega-3s.
We hope that the pebble Mark Bittman tossed in The New York Times' big pond makes ripples that help restore the balance needed to save wild seafood.