How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood

Just when opting for omega-3-rich seafood is being recognized as one of the healthiest dietary choices a person can make, the news seems to be full of stories about mercury-laden tuna, shrimp contaminated with antibiotics, and collapsing fish stocks. In a world of endangered cod, pirate-caught Chilean sea bass, and sea-lice-infested salmon, can we really continue to order the catch of the day in good conscience?

Bottomfeeder is the story of a seafood lover's round-the-world quest for a truly decent meal. From strip mall Red Lobsters to the rotary sushi bars of Tokyo, Taras Grescoe, acclaimed author of The Devil's Picnic, travels to the end of the seafood supply chain and back. It is a journey that will see him pulling up lobster traps in Nova Scotia, grilling three-star Michelin chefs in Manhattan, and visiting British Columbia's salmon farms with a guerrilla ecologist. While Grescoe samples poisonous pufferfish in Japan, barbecued sardines in Portugal, and confronts a plate of live drunken shrimp in China, he discovers how out-of-control pollution, unregulated fishing practices, and global warming are affecting the fish that end up on our plates.

More than a screed about the world's fisheries, Bottomfeeder is a balanced and practical guide to eating -the first book, in fact, to provide readers with a clear explanation of how to choose the best fish for our environment and our bodies.

Bottomfeeding is all about eating down the oceanic food chain: avoiding the big fish, such as tuna, swordfish, and salmon, which tend to be full of contaminants, and learning to relish the still abundant, small species that tend to be full of omega-3s and other brain-healthy nutrients.

Finalist for Best Non-Fiction, 2008-2011
William Saroyan International Prize, Stanford, California

Finalist for Best Food Book, 2010
Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards, Adelaide, Australia

Best Non-Fiction Book (Canada), 2008
The Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, Toronto, Ontario

Best Literary Food Writing, 2008 (United States)
International Association of Culinary Professionals, Denver, Colorado

Best English-language Non-Fiction (Quebec), 2008
The Quebec Writers' Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, Montreal, Quebec

Best Book of 2008, Honourable Mention, Keith Matthews Prize
Canadian Nautical Research Society

Named one of the Fifteen Books that Mattered Most in 2008
by Quill & Quire Magazine, December 2008

Shortlisted in the Special Interest Category, 2009
Canadian Culinary Book Awards, University of Guelph

"Grescoe lucidly explains how humankind has gradually been forced to target fish and crustacean species from lower and lower down the food chain...His book combines solid background research with well written reportage that crisscrosses the globe." —The Guardian

"Every page of this book had me reaching for pen and paper to record yet another horrifying statistic about the way humanity is plundering the seas." —Tim Ecott, The Telegraph

"A stunning expose of human folly with fishing around the globe." —Kevin Rushby, The Guardian

"What Grescoe proposes is nothing less than a rethinking of our relationship to seafood, from the 'fork back to the hook,' and Bottomfeeder could do for sustainable seafood what Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma has done for pasture-raised meat." —Quill and Quire

"One of the best accounts of the global crisis of fisheries, and of its implications for the seafood supply to changing markets. Whether we like it or not, most of us will become what its title says we will." —Daniel Pauly, Director, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia

"You'll be stunned by what Taras Grescoe reveals behind the scenes about your dinner, but also delighted by the way he rethinks our relationship with fish." —Trevor Corson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters