Monday, October 11, 2010

Rant: Stop Hunting Fish

Fishermen, I implore you to stop hunting fish!

This advice is based on the words of Paul Greenberg, the author of the new book Four Fish, who spoke at the recent Chefs Collaborative National Summit. Paul presided over one of the Breakout Sessions, discussing his book and the issues of sustainable seafood. I previously read his book and really enjoyed it, finding it well written, informative and a compelling read. So, I was most interested in hearing him speak at the Summit.

Now, I must clarify the initial advice, as it was only part of Paul's point. He is certainly not against fishing, and engages in it himself. But, he believes that fisherman should see themselves more as herders or stewards rather than just as hunters. A very eloquent way to put it. These fishermen need to take responsibility for their actions, and try to preserve fish species, rather than hunt them into extinction. There are numerous fish species which are endangered in various parts of the world and action must be taken to save them from extinction.

It was clear from the Summit, from other breakout sesssios as well, that there are many concerned fisherman who are taking this advice to heart, and are doing their best to preserve species and protect the environment. It can be a tought balancing act for them, as they try to make a successful living while also ensuring they do not drive fish to extinction. Yet they are finding ways to do so, acting as positive role models for others. They should be commended for their efforts.

But there are also fishermen who seem unconcerned about such matters, who are mere hunters. Their only concern is with catching enough fish to turn a good profit. They do not care what type of fish they catch, or how they do so. They don't look to the future, to a potential time when there might not be any more fish for them to catch. The only concern is the present. These fishermen pose a danger to us all and need to be educated and persuaded to adopt a different role, as a herder or steward.

We must support those fishermen who act as herders and stewards. They should be rewarded for their concern about fish and the environment by our patronage. Ask questions of your seafood purveyors, to ascertain the type of fishermen involved. We must act together if we want the maximum results.

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