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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, February 24

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Ingredient Tue Sep 11 2007

Shedd Helps Make a Environmentally Conscious Seafood Choice

With the growing popularity of fish worldwide and the "improvement" in fishing technologies, overfishing has become a great concern. A 2006 article in the journal Science predicted, based on an international study, that by the mid-century, there may be nothing left to fish from the ocean (as summarized in this BBC article). The same study found that by 2003, a third of the world's fisheries had "collapsed," meaning that the fish stocks in these areas became less than 10 percent of their peak abundance. The researchers involved in the above study agree that there needs to be a ban in certain damaged fisheries before all the fish stocks are irreversibly reduced, but it takes a concentrated political will--something that seems to be lacking in the international arena.

As a lover of much seafood, I've been concerned but felt powerless. I could choose seafood that are sustainablly fished, but even that seems rather complicated. The same species of fish may be endangered in one area but not in another. The same fish from the same fisheries may have been fished differently, leaving only one of them a destroyer of the ocean floor. An industrious environmentalist would read up on the issue and ask questions at her local fish store, but I've been lazy.

So, when I was pointed to a nice little PDF card with a list of what to get and what to avoid in order to conserve the world's fish and other seafood, prepared by the Shedd Aquarium, I was delighted. A part of the Shedd's conservation effort called the "Right Bite," the card has three columns: "Best Choices," "Good Alternatives" and "Avoid." Each of the column has species and how they are fished (or raised), so you can easily tell which ones are safe to eat--both for you and for the environment.

Better yet, the card folds to a credit-card size so that it's easy to carry it in your wallet and pull it out as you need it. Of course, all of this is not going to work if the stores and restaurants don't display enough information about what they sell (which seems to be a wide-spread problem), but with the Shedd's Right Bite card, at least you can ask specific questions. The card seems great for those who are concerned about mercury levels in seafood, for it indicates species prone to mercury contamination with asterisks as well.

If this little card isn't enough for your oceanic curiosity (and if you're up for the hefty $75 price tag), the Shedd holds dinners at various Chicago restaurants, where environmentally friendly seafood is specially prepared for the participants. The next "Right Bite Dinner" with a guest speaker is at Naha on November 5th. Call 312-692-3123 for more information and to register.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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