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The 'Gill to Fin' Trend: TED Author Maria Finn on Eating the Whole Fish

How to eat fish from gill to fin, from Maria Finn's new TED book, The Whole Fish


The whole "hoof to snout" trend has been big in foodie land for a few years now, but a similar trend in seafood has been slower to take hold. With her new TED book, The Whole Fish, commercial fisherwoman-turned-food writer Maria Finn hopes to change that. In addition to championing the consumption of so-called "forage fish," such as sardines and herring, Finn espouses the benefits of eating fish "gill to adipose fin,"as a way to combat the impacts of overfishing and poor aquaculture practices. Finn saw first-hand how indigenous tribes in Alaska used every part of the salmon and began wondering when Americans lost our taste for "fishy" fish. From there she embarked on a journey that included everything from "fish bacon" (dried salmon skin) to the herring abundant near her Bay Area home. The result is a great guide to sustainable seafood consumption that's equal parts fish tale and cookbook. Finn talked to us about her adventures in fishing from her houseboat in Sausalito.

GOOD: What is your favorite forage fish?

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Scientists Develop New Rating System for Our Abused Oceans

The new "Ocean Health Index" gives the blue planet a D- overall, but the waters off the uninhabited Jarvis Islands are still pretty nice, apparently.

The ocean's health is our health. We rely on the oceans for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and opportunities for recreation. All too often though, quantified scientific assessments of the health of our oceans fail to make that human connection—salmon is a key indicator species for gauging coastal conditions and so are surfers and commercial fishermen. Marine scientists this week introduced in the journal Nature a new "Ocean Health Index" that crunches data from ten factors—including the direct benefits to humans—that rates the marine health of individual countries as well as a global score.

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When Life Gives You Invasive Species, Make Sushi

Invasive species dining is sustainable food's next frontier, and Bun Lai's inventive sushi is at the vanguard of the movement

Sushi chef Bun Lai has a taste for the beach. He grew up exploring the craggy shore and rocky isles of coastal Connecticut, a passion he’s carried with him into adulthood. A few years ago, Lai and a friend were flipping over rocks along Long Island Sound, just to see what lie underneath. He was expecting to find the same green crabs he’s known since his youth. But “all of a sudden, we saw these crabs I hadn’t seen before,” he says. Lai caught some, brought them home, and looked them up.

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Feast Your Eyes: 20-Pound Geoduck Clams for the Lunar New Year Photo: Harvesting Geoduck Clams for the Chinese New Year

Native Americans dive into the frigid Puget Sound to harvest these incredible (and incredibly ugly) bivalves for markets in Asia.

The geoduck is one of North America's largest native clams and probably one of the ugliest. Its oval shell is four to six inches wide and the clams can weigh up to 20 pounds. When you pick them out of the water, Mark Kurlansky writes in The Food of a Younger Land, the "long phallic neck squirts water and then sadly falls flaccid."

Photographer Mike Kane recently went out with divers in the Suquamish tribe as they harvested bivalves from the ice cold waters of Washington's Puget Sound for the Chinese New Year. The Wall Street Journal reports that the clams are part of a $6-million seafood trade. In addition to being a delicacy traditionally served at the Lunar New Year, the clams are also an incredible business in the Northwest. A single clam can yield a hundred sashimi appetizers. At $1 an ounce, divers can make $5,000 a day, none of it subject to federal taxes.

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Beyond the PR Stunt That Was the "Blacklisted Seafood" Dinner Legal Seafood's Blacklist Fish Dinner

Overfished Atlantic cod: should you eat it or not? The answer is less straightforward and much more interesting than you might have thought.


Well, last night was the big one for seafood snuff in Boston, where 50 lucky diners ate Atlantic cod cheeks, white hake, and farmed Vietnamese black tiger shrimp at Legal Sea Foods. If you're keeping score, that menu goes three for three on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's list (pictured to the left) of seafood to avoid because its population numbers are too low or because it is "caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment."

The event was clearly a PR stunt, despite Legal Sea Foods' owner Roger Berkowitz's protestations to the contrary. Nonetheless, it's worth avoiding knee-jerk condemnation in this case, as Berkowitz is actually making an interesting point by challenging the over-simplification of consumer seafood buying guides.

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