Have your fish and eat it, too

Are there plenty of fish in the sea? Not anymore. According to a study released in May 2003 by scientists at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, world fish stocks have diminished 85 percent in the last 15 years, yet greater demand has pushed annual fish consumption in the United States from 12 pounds per person in 1980 to about 15 pounds per person in 2001.

Seafood-loving but concerned consumers who want to enjoy fish for dinner will want to know about the new cookbook One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish: The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook, edited by Carole C. Baldwin and Julie H. Mounts (Smithsonian Books, 2003). This easy-to-read volume distills oceans of information about sustainable seafood and features recipes from celebrity chefs who aim to preserve fisheries. Each chapter offers a description of the seafood, discussion of sustainability issues, and a list of species safe to buy and eat. Separate columns offer clear descriptions of each fish, its habitat, and best cooking method.

Beyond the book, you can find the Smithsonian’s seafood choices list at www.mnh.si.edu/seafood. Monterey Bay Aquarium offers another excellent list with downloadable cards at www.mbayaq.org/cr/seafoodwatch.asp.

—Ramin Ganeshram