Gourmands and health-conscious consumers alike have fallen for fish; last year per capita consumption in the United States hit an all-time high. Packed with nutrients and naturally low in fat, fish is the last animal we can still eat in good conscience. Or can we?
In this vivid, eye-opening bookfirst published in the UK to wide acclaim and now extensively revised for an American audienceenvironmental journalist Charles Clover argues that our passion for fish is unsustainable. Seventy-five percent of the worlds fish stocks are now fully exploited or over-fished; the most popular varieties risk extinction within the next few decades.
Clover trawls the globe for answers, from Tokyos sumptuous fish market to the heart of New Englands fishing industry. He joins hardy sailors on high-tech boats, interviews top chefs whose menu selections can influence the fate of entire species, and examines the ineffective organizations charged with regulating the worlds fisheries. Along the way he argues that governments as well as consumers can take steps to reverse this disturbing trend before its too late. The price of a mouthwatering fillet of Chilean sea bass may seem outrageous, but The End of the Line shows its real cost to the ecosystem is far greater.
The Price of Fish
Imagine what people would say if a band of hunters strung a mile of net between two immense all-terrain vehicles and dragged it at speed across the plains of Africa. This fantastical assemblage, like something from a Mad Max movie, would scoop up everything in its way: predators such as lions and cheetahs, lumbering endangered herbivores such as rhinos and elephants, herds of impala and wildebeest, family groups of warthogs and wild dogs. Pregnant females would be swept up and carried along, with only the smallest juveniles able to wriggle through the mesh. Picture how the net is constructed, with a huge metal roller attached to the leading edge. This rolling beam smashes and flattens obstructions, flushing creatures into the approaching filaments. The effect of dragging a huge iron bar across the savannah is to break off every outcrop and uproot every tree, bush, and flowering plant, stirring columns of birds into the air. Left ...
Clover neither sensationalizes nor heckles, he simply lays out the facts, and is merciless at pointing the finger at the guilty parties - from the trawlers with vast nets that destroy everything in their paths, to incompetent and/or dishonest scientists; to celebrity chefs who proudly display the "marine equivalent of panda, rhino and great apes" on their menus; to sports fisherman (23% of endangered species caught in North American waters are caught by sports fisherman) and to the general public for whom eating fish has become "a kind of dietary talisman". However, it is the governments that take the greatest tongue lashing, and with good reason. From self-interested governments who deny there's a problem and hamper ocean conservation; to the governments who allow their fishermen to glibly ignore international rules; to European Union countries (such as Spain) who buy morally questionable fishing right from poor countries for pathetic amounts of money.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (991 words).
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