Heard the jaw-dropping news? The world is quickly running out of fish. Especially the types a lot of us like to chow down on. Nearly half the world’s marine life has been wiped out in the past 50 years, so act now or kiss your sushi dinners good-bye. (Also: the planet.) We investigated, and it turns out global survival and delicious seafood are possible if we’re smart about what we eat. Here, pre-eminent food writer Mark Bittman teaches you how to hunt for your next great meal.
contributor Mark Bittmanc
Without question, fish is the most nutritious animal we can eat, and by far the most varied in flavor and texture. But once you know that humankind has decimated the wild population, you don’t have to be a Greenpeace raft captain to feel conflicted about consuming it. Do we really want to be the generation so obsessed with gastronomic pleasure that we exterminate the Pacific? We can do better—not only for the future of our oceans but for the future of our appetites. There really are plenty of other fish in the sea: sustainable fish, regret-free fish, delicious and abundant fish that in some cases are such invasive species, it’s actually virtuous to murder them. With just a few modest substitutions, you can do your part for the planet while still eating like a king.
Easy on the Shrimp, Go Big on Mussels
I know how great shrimp tastes, but an awful lot of it is farmed under repellent conditions, and much of that by actual slave labor. (In Southeast Asia, fishing-boat captains have been known to kidnap indigent men, forcing them to work for no pay and holding them in cages between shifts.) And the wild stocks of the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico are mostly trawled, a destructive method. Better to look for something else, and that something else is mussels. They’re sustainably farmed. (If you’re lucky you can buy wild, and those are even better.) They’re also inexpensive, delicious, and incredibly easy to cook. One pound per person is adequate, though an extra pound among three or four people will get eaten.