It's not too late to rescue the oceans--and keep seafood on our plates
I've eaten his barnacles, so I know he could do jellyfish right, too. But with a little effort on our part, maybe we'll be eating jellyfish by choice, not out of necessity.
Many species share this name. The American red snapper, found from the Gulf of Mexico to the mid-Atlantic, can grow to 35 pounds but is usually eaten at less than 10 pounds. It has been depleted by decades of heavy fishing. Adults live on rocky reefs, but red snappers spend their first two years on sandy or muddy bottoms, where they are often killed as bycatch in Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawls. The loss of juvenile snappers, before they can spawn, has accelerated the depletion of this fish.
This small tuna, no more than 2 or 3 feet long, is a favorite food of larger open-ocean fish. The skipjack, found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world's oceans, is also a favorite of tuna-salad fans; it and another tuna, yellowfin, are sold as "chunk light" canned tuna. The most heavily fished of the tunas, skipjacks tend to school at the surface and are caught with purse seine nets and hook and line. Yet skipjack populations are healthy, perhaps because their usual predators, such as larger tuna and sharks, have been depleted.
Cod supported a massive fishery in the Atlantic for centuries but has been heavily depleted by factory trawlers since World War II. Many fishing grounds have been closed or restricted, but stocks have been slow to recover. The cod's delicate, white flesh was a mainstay of fish and chips; it has largely been replaced by Alaska pollock, now the world's largest fishery. Cod can reach 200 pounds but now are rarely found above 20. The related Pacific cod is in better shape. Young cod are sold as scrod, as are haddock and pollock.
Among the most spectacular fish, bluefin tuna can reach 1,500 pounds in the Atlantic. Smaller Pacific bluefins are born in the Sea of Japan, then migrate thousands of miles east. These powerful, warm-blooded swimmers can reach 25 miles an hour and cross an ocean in three weeks. They are caught with long lines and now are also herded into nets and fattened like cattle in a feedlot. Bluefins are so scarce in many regions that a single fish can fetch tens of thousands of dollars in Japan, where this tuna is prized for sushi.
Rechristened Chilean sea bass by savvy marketers, this fish is actually unrelated to any saltwater bass. It is a favorite of chefs because of its mild, oil-rich flesh, which stands up well to cooking. But it has been hit hard by legal and illegal long-line fishing--a "pirate" fishery that is worth $500 million a year. The toothfish takes 10 years to mature and can live at least 40 years, grows to 7 feet, and is found at depths of up to 4,000 yards in waters near Antarctica. Little else is known about this member of the unique family called the cod icefishes.