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Four-FishMidway through the introduction, I was hooked. Greenberg writes unsentimentally but movingly of himself as a boy who turned to fishing and nature to escape a chaotic life, unwittingly becoming a self-taught expert on the wiles of fish and a devotee of these mysterious creatures. When he returns to his old haunts as an adult and discovers the fish gone, Greenberg decides to find out why. The quest takes him around the globe to discover, as the subtitle says, “The Future of the Last Wild Food.”

Four Fish is worth reading whether or not you consume fish, because, as the author illustrates, the food that comes from the sea is essential to human life on the planet. Salmon, tuna, bass and cod – the four fish that dominate our menus — are the book’s focus. The species vary tremendously and Greenberg relates the history and plight of each in prose that is witty, readable and highly informative.

In Four Fish, winner of the James Beard Award for Writing and Literature, Greenberg details the role that fish play in meeting the world’s dietary needs; paints a vivid picture of the size and complexity of the fishing industry; defends the need for both sustainable fish farming and functioning wild food systems; and, outlines a plan for a comprehensive and coordinated global effort to protect and foster the world’s fish resources.

In third grade geography, we learned that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Four Fish underscores the urgency for safeguarding this precious resource and illustrates why, when it comes to fish, one solution does not fit all.

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