CEO of Oceana Andy Sharpless recently published an intriguing, informative seafood book titled The Perfect Protein. I want to highlight his work and encourage seafood novices and enthusiasts alike to pick up a copy. The work examines our historical links to the ocean and how our evolution is intertwined with seafood consumption.
The health benefits of consuming seafood over other land-based proteins is scientifically drawn out to a point where I believe that you can't help but change your eating habits after reading this book. The book also goes to great links to explain how we have wasted and continue to degrade the bounty the ocean has to offer. Anecdotal stories are dovetailed with tragic realities that bring the reader full circle, from boom to bust, of how our relationship with the ocean has changed from unknown abyss to seafood buffet. He leaves hope for the future though. If we can realize that with good stewardship we can balance our growing hunger harmoniously with wild fish and shellfish stocks, there will be no need to starve the ocean. He offers a simple solution for harvesting conscientiously and intelligently: "It is apparent in fishery data around the world. It just requires three commonsense principles of good ocean management: 1. Protect the habitats that foster ocean life. 2. Reduce the scourge of bycatch. 3. Set quotas based on science, not the fishing industry's bottom line."
The idea is simple enough, now if the world's Nations would just catch on and implement I believe that the global goal of a healthy, productive ocean is attainable. Reading this book will force you to think about seafood not as dietary supplement, but as an ancient necessity that has shaped who we are and how far we have come. We are linked to the ocean by more than our stomachs. It is a life-blood, an indispensable, renewable, resilient resource for so many of the world's species, including our own. Our place in the food chain does not give us the right to break or alter that chain. We must learn to become good stewards, responsible links in the chain, because the continued destruction of the ocean and its inhabitants only hastens our own collapse.