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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (July 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441872442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441872449
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,784,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Important and stimulating. . . . [Greenberg] has constructed a book that, even as it lays out the grim and complicated facts of common seas ravaged by separate nations, also manages to sound a few hopeful and exciting notes about the future of fish, and with it, the future of civilizations in thrall to the bounty of the sea."
-Sam Sifton, New York Times Book Review

"An award-winning food journalist brilliantly dissects the relationship between humans and the four fish that dominate the seafood market. . . . The narrative is grounded in common sense and anchored by first-rate, on-scene reporting from the Yukon and Mekong Rivers, Lake Bardawil in the Sinai Peninsula and the waters off the coasts of Long Island, Greece, Hawaii and the Shetland Islands. Hugely informative, sincere and infectiously curious and enthusiastic."
-Kirkus (starred review)

"Finally we have learned that food is best when produced on a small scale in accordance with the rhythms of our planet. Paul Greenberg's warm and witty Four Fish takes this concept to the ocean. Seafood deserves the same kind of respect and political awareness as food from the land. Maybe more."
-Alice Waters

"Four Fish is not only the best analysis I've seen of the current state of both wild and farmed fish - it's a terrific read."
-Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything and Food Matters

"We are lucky to have the exceptional journalist and writer Paul Greenberg turn his attention to one of the greatest threats to our food supply, the depletion of the world's fisheries. By deftly drawing together the strands of a pressing global crisis, Greenberg will change the way you think about the fish you eat."
-Amanda Hesser, New York Times food columnist and a founder of food52.com

"If you've ever ordered salmon, if you've ever slurped a bowl of chowder, if you've ever sat down for sushi, Paul Greenberg's friendly and thoughtful book will lure you in, surprise you, probably shock you, and certainly make you think...Read this book."
-Trevor Corson, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Paul Greenberg is a writer with over 20 years of experience reporting on fish and ocean issues. His numerous opinion pieces, essays and articles on fishing and aquaculture have been published in The New York Times Opinion Page, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Boston Globe Sunday Ideas Section, and The New England Fisherman. His 2005 New York Times Magazine article on Chilean Sea Bass received the International Association of Culinary Professionals' "Bert Greene Award" for excellence in food writing. Four Fish is his first non-fiction book.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on Dec 26 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is largely about the history and current status of the fishing and farming of what are perhaps the four most popular species of food fish: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. The author starts off as an interested sports fisherman who also enjoys seafood. A passionate fisherman in his childhood and youth, he returns to it later in life as a journalist to examine more closely how and why the fish we eat gets to our plates.

Now, there isn't that much technical information on either the fish or the fishing methods. Mostly, this is a book about the sustainability of the four fish mentioned. The author takes the sensible stand that we should be concerned with conservation and minimizing harm to fish stocks, but he certainly isn't a hard-core eco-warrior. Indeed, he goes fishing for, and catches, just about all the species mentioned in this book. Certainly, he eats them all. But perhaps that's why this book was interesting to read. It's full of important messages, but it's not so much preachy as it is a narrative of his own discoveries. The "preaching" is simply facts that he discovered that are pretty clear to anyone remotely interested in a responsible truth. That's probably why I'm giving this book five stars- it made a book about four fish quite interesting to read.

Because the truth is we are increasing our demand for fresh seafood at the same time as global stocks are declining. Fish farming (for most species) doesn't seem to be the answer. That means we'll have to ask ourselves some hard questions sooner or later. If not, we'll end up repeating the sad story of the cod. Much of what's written in this book won't be terribly new to people who know anything about seafood (e.g.
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By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 5 2014
Format: Paperback
I love the way this guy talks. His childhood stories flow seamlessly into the story of all humanity in relation to sea creatures. The book's structure builds both forward in time and outward into ever-deeper water. I'd seen some deeply disturbing accounts about our systematic destruction of the sea. But this was a far more conversationally problem-solving approach, considering the merits of various practical experiments to manage fish better. I was fascinated to learn of bright spots, where people make some promising possibilities happen.

A lot of the book concerns learning what works, and what doesn't in sustainably farming fish. Greenberg shows, for example, that while farming of tra or tilapia shows enormous potential, attempts to farm carnivorous cod, tuna and probably even salmon, are moderately to totally counterproductive. In talking to the people actually trying these things, Greenberg has a learning adventure that's a pleasure to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 118 reviews
120 of 125 people found the following review helpful
The Story of the Fish in Your Dinner June 28 2010
By Terry Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I love seafood. However, I live in arid West Texas, a place where good seafood is nonexistent, for both geographic and cultural reasons. What passes for a seafood restaurant here is (shudder) Red Lobster, and the fishmongers at local grocery stores just give you a blank stare when you ask about wild-caught Copper River salmon. Despite these difficulties, I am very (perhaps perversely) interested in the natural history of the seafood that is impossible for me to get, and Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is appetizer, main dish and dessert for curious pescetarians.

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."

Mr. Greenberg uses footnoted historical and scientific information from academic reports and other sources, as well as his personal experiences and interviews with some colorful fishing industry characters, to build detailed and informative pictures of the state of these four fish in the world today. These are factual, balanced treatments of subjects that are practically guaranteed to set environmentalists, government regulators, fishermen and consumers at each others' throats in the dynamic, complicated world of modern large-scale aquaculture. He shows how issues such as sustainability, wild-caught vs. farmed fish, the environmental effects of fish farms, growth in consumer demand, concentrations of harmful pollutants in fish, etc., are all interrelated in an incredibly complex web of dependencies. Easing one problem invariably worsens others, and there are really no easy answers to the question of how we can best manage our production and consumption of these four fish to assure their safety, availability and future viability.

It's not a hopeless future. Mr. Greenberg offers some things we can do to mend our troubled relationship with the oceans and the life within them. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, you should still find "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" to be an interesting and informative read. I recommend it highly if you have the slightest interest in finding out more about the fish on your plate.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
The limits of the sea July 8 2010
By J. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Mankind has often looked upon the ocean as a bountiful place capable of providing a near-endless supply of food. We even sort of romanticize those who brave the elements, from Moby Dick and yesterday's whalers to today's "Deadliest Catch." And for reasons of abundance or convenience or perhaps just taste, we've settled upon four main fish which serve as our principal "seafood": salmon, bass, cod, and tuna. But, as fishing has become increasingly commercial and efficient, we're in danger of destroying the wild populations of these fish and the ecosystems they depend upon and that are dependent upon them.

Paul Greenburg has written an excellent and surprisingly readable book about our relationship with the sea and its bounty. He does this not from a solely environmentalist perspective, but also as a fisherman and one who enjoys eating fish. He discusses the advantages of wild vs. farmed fish - the destructive practices of each which imperil future stocks. With farming, in particular, the four are very poor candidates for captive rearing (although the lessons learned so far have been essential and can be applied elsewhere). He also explores potential replacements against a checklist of qualities that should ensure greater success (the same qualities that have been proven in terrestrial farming).

I was *very* surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I've never been a huge eater of seafood, although I've recently begun ordering it more often when we eat out. But I most appreciated the scientific aspect of the book that seeks to find the best possible balance, moving beyond the simple red or green seafood cards to maximizing a sustainable harvest while protecting resources. He acknowledges there are no easy answers, but leans a little too heavily on regulation as if illegal poaching wouldn't increase with such measures. But overall, an important read for all those who are concerned about the future of the oceans and the last wild food.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Should appeal to a wide audience July 3 2010
By B. Case - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Paul Greenberg's "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" is an insightful, entertaining, and compelling natural history and social commentary on the current state of commercial fishing, fish farming, recreational fishing, and worldwide fisheries management. The vast scope of this work is simplified by focusing on the four most popular eating fish: salmon, tuna, bass, and cod. In the process, the reader gains a solid overview of the topic. The book is packed with fascinating technical, scientific, social and historical details, but at no time did I feel overwhelmed...in fact, just the opposite: I could hardly put the book down. I was stunned to discover that "Four Fish" is a page-tuner!

The last time I found a natural history that was so compelling, it was Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma." While I don't think this book will become another worldwide nonfiction bestseller like that one did, I would not be surprised to see it turned into a feature National Geographic Channel documentary. After all, the author is extremely engaging and a writer who frequently writes for that magazine.

The author's writing is personal, direct, honest, and easy-going. Reading the book felt like sitting down with a brilliant, enthusiastic buddy and listening to him tell you about the subject that commands his greatest passion. The book is full of delightful stories based on fascinating people who Greenberg interviewed and observed during the course of researching this book. Much of the scientific and technical information is passed on to the reader through artful, true-to-life storytelling. His stories unfold naturally and often overflow with humor and wit. There is a comfortable balance between the light and serious section. The later contain detailed facts, thoughtful philosophical, ethical, and personal reflections, and heartfelt recommendations.

The author demonstrates a wealth of knowledge on this topic gained from thorough academic research, in-depth interviews, and life-long personal experience as an avid recreational fisherman. The book has an extensive bibliographical notes section at the end with useful annotations.

This book should appeal to a wide audience of readers with diverse backgrounds and motivations. I am not a fisherman and have no connection to the fishing industry. My interest in the topic derives from my love of eating fish and my concern about the future of the species. I have recently taken college-level courses on this topic, and completed a semester-long independent study of wild versus farmed salmon. Greenberg's book provided me with a wealth of new and exciting information.

I hope the book sells well. It is vitally important that as many people as possible learn about the future of fish, our last widely consumed wild food. Through knowledge and appropriate action, people can make a difference. It may still be possible to save the oceans and rivers of the world and the wild fish that inhabit them.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Choices Sept. 22 2010
By Stephen T. Hopkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Paul Greenberg presents both problems and alternative solutions in his new book, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food. Greenberg presents the history and current situation with four fish: salmon, cod, tuna and bass. He explores sustainability and the issue of wild and farmed fish. He presents what he calls four clearly achievable goals for wild fish: a reduction in fishing effort; no-catch areas of the ocean; protect unmanageable species, and protect the bottom of the food chain. This is a readable and informative presentation of an interesting issue. Any reader who's interested in fish, science or more knowledge about what we eat, will likely enjoy this book.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A dense but thorough look at marine ecosystems and the fisheries they support June 27 2010
By Omar Siddique - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
An insightful look at the last wild species that humans hunt in any quantity, the collapses of over-exploited populations, and the domestication of some of those animals.

This volume is timely, arriving when many marine ecosystems are past their tipping points, with threats coming from every direction, even as humans continue to harvest or destroy vast amounts of sealife as if the ocean was an inexhaustible resource. The collapse of fishery after fishery, high-value species replaced by lower-valued ones, commercial extinctions commonplace, and actual extinctions looming-- none of this seems to make an impression on peoples who largely act without any enlightened self-interest (ie, the cumulative effect of their individual actions, or anticipation of the predictable future). I fully expect that the next generation will rarely eat wild-caught fish, and certainly not of the profusion and bounty we've seen in seafood markets in the last century.

Greenberg's writing is full of well-researched information, but is at its most compelling when he relates his personal experience and history, and bogs down when he wanders too far off-topic into the background material, such as the discussion of Greece's desire for home-grown industry (part of his background on the farming of sea bass). The narrative would flow much more readily with more streamlined asides and introductions, since these distract from the serious issues surrounding the wholesale, and possibly permanent changes, we are causing to wild ecosystems, to sate our appetites for seafood.

Recommended for the in-depth look at the serious issues resulting from the collision of marine ecosystems and man's need to consume seafood from the top of the chain down, but you'll need to stay focused to get through some of the denser sections.


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