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Interview: Paul Greenberg, Author Of 'American Catch: The Fight For Our Local Seafood' : The Salt : NPR
"What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.

Shrimp and salmon are two case studies in the unraveling of America's seafood economy, according to Paul Greenberg, author of the new book American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood. Greenberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about what's driving the changes in America's seafood economy and why you should buy wild salmon frozen when its out of season."



"We only eat about 15 pounds of seafood per year per capita. That's half of the global average, so there's that. The other thing is that other countries really are hip to seafood. The Chinese love seafood; the Japanese, the Koreans — they love seafood. They're willing to pay top dollar for it. We just aren't willing to do so. We want our food cheap and easy.

All of this fast-food commodification of seafood protein — because that's kind of what it is at this point — adds to that general preference for cheap stuff. Kind of in tandem and in league with that is the American tendency to avoid taste. ... Foodies [talk] about flavor and texture and the food movement and that kind of thing, and that's true of about 5 percent of Americans, but 95 percent of Americans really are not so into flavor. ... If we don't like the flavorsome fish — like bluefish, mackerel, things like oysters, things that really taste of the sea — if we don't like that, then we're going to go for these generic, homogenized, industrialized products."



"On the decline of local fish markets

We don't want fish markets in our view shed. We don't want to smell them. We don't want to look at them. So they really have been banished from the center of our cities and sequestered to a corner of our supermarkets.

This is a process that aids all of the facelessness and commodification of seafood. ... Seafood has been taken out of the hands of the experts and put into the hands of the traders, so people really cannot identify the specificity of fish anymore. Because supermarkets rely on mass distribution systems, often frozen product, it means that the relationship between coastal producers of seafood is broken and so it's much easier for them to deal with the Syscos of the world, or these large purveyors that use these massive shrimp operations in Thailand or China, than it is for them to deal with the kind of knotty nature of local fishermen."
2014  fish  fishing  food  paulgreenberg  books  toread  commerce  globalization  salmon  shrimp 
july 2014 by robertogreco

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