Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The first real reader (someone who seems to read read all the time, who really loves to read, that kind of person) I ever knew just sent me a copy of Charles Clover's The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat and it is a fantastic book. I read the chapter on Japan and the Tsuikiji fish market in Tokyo at lunch today (while eating sushi). Obviously, the book has me convinced that fishing and eating fish faces a bleak future so I am eating as much fish as I can while I can (though I end up feeling bad about it halfway through the meal - same with the tuna melt I ate when I read the introduction).
Clover occasionally mentions the amount of fuel it takes to sustain the modern fish economy. Trawlers burn a tremendous amount of diesel and planes fly fish everywhere. (One town in the north of England where the once legendary fishing has collapsed is now a market for fish caught all over the world - fish is flown in and distributed instead of fish caught locally and exported.) Clover slyly writes of all the carbon emitted by each flight of fish to Tsukiji. (Which reminded me of Ian Jack, editor of Granta, calculating the amount of carbon each of his potential family vacactions would emit - I believe he chose a train to France as the most sensible.)
I started reading Redmond O'Hanlon's Trawler in bed last night. Its the perfect complement to the Clover book. O'Hanlon, a former science editor at the TLS, specializes in demented travel writing. In Trawler, he goes to sea in the North Atlantic to observe a scientist friend and the crew of a trawler. But they set to sea in the worst weather imaginable and I know there's to be trouble of some sort. Its also sort of an anthropology of commercial fisherman. (Link)