Holy Mackerel

Amackerel-sushi-a

by Casson Trenor

Your browser may not support display of this image.Mackerel is a fantastic fish. Not only is it healthy and nutritious, but it reproduces quickly, breeds in large numbers, and often benefits from effective and precautionary management. In fact, saba has been a sushi staple of mine for years, and I encourage you to give it a shot in the place of other more sustainably troubling sushi items (like unagi or hamachi, for instance) next time you visit a sushi bar.

That being said, some troubling news from the Atlantic has forced me to revisit my standard double-fisted endorsement.

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Posted in Recipes, Seafood

One Way to Buy Supermarket Fish – Frozen

Salmon

By Casson Trenor and Mark Bittman

I (Mark) found this salmon filet Your browser may not support display of this image.at Shaw’s, in Berlin, Vermont. Frozen hard. It looked good, and the price was right ($12 a pound, I think, which for real sockeye isn’t at all bad), so I bought it. I had no idea what the numbers meant, so I asked Casson Trenor.

His response:

“Accurate species name — Latin name — certification # — FAO catch area — verbatim wild-caught language – Yes, this is very good. It’s nice to see grocery stores putting Latin names on their seafood – it helps consumers avoid confusion.  Some fish are plagued by this problem – a big one on the West Coast is Sebastes spp., or the Pacific rockfish.  You see that sold as all sorts of things – rock cod, Pacific red snapper, whatever.  If we added a Latin name on the label it would be a lot easier.  So it’s great to see stickers like the one on this salmon. Where did you find it?” Continue reading

Posted in Seafood

License to Krill

Krill

By Casson Trenor

(Above is a bag of krill meal – not for human consumption. Image property of Infinity Baits, http://www.infinitybaits.co.uk/)

Two days ago, the gavel came down in an adjudication decision which may, more than any other recent hammer-strike, determine the future of fishing: The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) officially bestowed its blue-and-white fish-check label to a massive factory operator that targets Antarctic krill.

This is not a good thing.

Antarctic krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that cluster in vast multitudes (known as “blooms”) in the waters of the Southern Ocean. They form a critical building block in the oceanic food web: small fish consume the krill before being eaten themselves by seals, penguins, toothfish, and other animals. Krill are also a primary source of nourishment for migratory whales — in fact, the majority of the world’s baleen whales journey to the southern ocean to feed on krill and replenish their energy supplies after depleting their reserves during their mating and calving seasons. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics, Seafood

Want Sustainable Sushi? Follow the 4-S Rule

Sushi

By Casson Trenor

I was recently interviewed by a CNN team who wanted to know about sustainability in the sushi industry. This video clip is me explaining what I call the “4-S rule” – a simple if somewhat crude guide to eating in a more sustainable fashion at the sushi bar (oh, and a small correction to CNN’s byline – I am a co-founder of Tataki Sushi Bar, but I don’t actually own the restaurant.)

Basically, there are four adjectives, each starting with the letter S, that form the eponymous rule. If you bear these descriptors in mind while you order, you can markedly diminish your environmental footprint at that meal. It’s not a perfect system – there are exceptions to each of the four “S” words – but by and large, it will help you eat sushi more sustainably. Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Seafood

A Tough Week for the Sea

Turtle_casson

By Casson Trenor

[Casson Trenor is Greenpeace's point man on getting supermarkets and restaurants to behave themselves when it comes to buying fish. He's also a whale-saver, a recent recipient of TIME Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment” award, the author of Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time, and a blogger: check out www.sustainablesushi.net. Needless to say, I'm happy he's writing for us. - mb]

It’s a bad time to be an ocean-dweller.

First, we have the overfishing crisis, which continues virtually unabated.  Every day, we yank hundreds of thousands of pounds of life out of the sea, often in strikingly inefficient and destructive ways – bottom trawls rake the floor of the ocean, pulverizing corals and flattening any animals that lack the locomotive capacity to evade them, while pelagic longlines indiscriminately slaughter curious seabirds, turtles, and sharks as collateral damage in our unrelenting quest for seafood.

To make matters worse, President Obama, who was elected in part by an engaged and hopeful environmentalist demographic, has completely turned his back on the oceans and their largest denizens – whales.  His 2008 promise to strengthen the international moratorium on commercial whaling has been completely subsumed by  an insidious new agenda that seeks to dismantle the moratorium, legalize whaling in the Southern Ocean (including Japan’s ongoing hunt for endangered fin, sei, and humpback whales), and create an unspoken tolerance among the world’s governments for this intolerable activity. Continue reading

Posted in Food Politics, Seafood