Love fish? Help keep them around.

Documentaries are a staple in our household. We watch them as religiously as some families follow their favorite sitcoms or catch up on the evening news. This evening, I finally got around to watching “The End of the Line“, based on the book by¬†Charles Clover with the same title. If you haven’t watched it yet and are one for documentaries, I highly recommend it.

The documentary discusses the fishing industry and focuses on the current state of the health of our oceans – and more importantly, the expected degradation we can expect if we do nothing to change our attitudes and behaviors. Having gone diving in some local waters that have been depleted of ocean life and also others that are protected areas that were teaming with life, I have to say the documentary struck a particularly sensitive cord in me. What a shame if within our generation we saw some of our most beloved fish disappear into extinction and the waters look as barren as they already do in some parts.

Upon finishing the documentary, I went to the film’s website where they have more information about what the average person can do, and updated news links about the fishing industry. They also provide links to other sites that give listings of restaurants (unfortunately, mainly in the United States) according to a sustainability ratings, as well as recommended fish to eat and to avoid – based on current population levels. For a detailed pocket fish guide (PDF) of the recommended fish to avoid and eat, you can download it here.

I’ve included a summary chart of the top ten fish to avoid and to eat below, in case it’s of interest to you. I know it was to me.

Image from fish2fork.com

If you’d like more details about why each of the fish is listed in either the avoid or eat list, you can find the original chart on the The End of the Line website. Just select the fish you’re interested and more content will appear.

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Stayin’ Alive

What not to do with lobsters. (Photo credit: Vivian Chan)

The other night, we decided to go big and brought home two live lobsters and fresh manila clams. Since we’re a household of die-hard seafood lovers, what could possibly be better than picking up fresh, live seafood for dinner? Our challenge, of course, was to keep it all alive until it was time to cook.

Intuition told us that lobsters and clams are ocean dwellers, so naturally, the best tactic would be to immerse them in water for safe-keeping, right? Wrong. Regardless of whether the water is fresh or salted, it’s a bad idea to fully immerse shellfish in water for storage. Within probably 15-20 minutes, the two previously very energetic lobsters were still.

Luckily, the clams could still be saved, and we had discovered the lobsters’ premature deaths quickly enough that our dinner could also still be salvaged. (We immediately brought about an inch of gently salted water to boil and steamed the two lobsters in covered pots right away.)

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