Economies of Scale: Two New Ways to Think About Fish

Little fishes dressed for fall sale in the Upper East Side.

If you care at all about where your food comes from and how your food choices might affect the world and your body — and you likely do, if you read Edible Manhattan — what’s a more perplexing protein than seafood? There’s pollutants, mercury, overfishing, extinction, bycatch, food miles, fish farming, dredging and the economic stability of fishing communities and those that rely on fishing economies to consider along with your purchase. And as a spate of recent books and reports on this very subject have shown — as well as two upcoming events on two very interesting modes of contemporary fisheries planning — you’re not alone in your deep thoughts about the fruits of the deep blue.

The first is a $10 chowder cook-off this Saturday afternoon from 1-4 pm at Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village. The proceeds go to a group called the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, a non-profit that promotes, well, let’s call it Slow Fish. One of their programs is to help CFAs, or Community-Supported Fisheries, which work like a CSA to support small fisherfolk doing things in more sustainable ways.  Brett Tolley, who helps run NAMA, will also speak about his recent trip to Slow Food and the ways the organization is focusing on fisheries.

The second event is a panel at the Seaport Museum on November 18th called “How to make New York City seafood local again,” about the history of our hyper-local fisheries and the potential future. It’s a heavy-hitting group of piscine thinkers doing the discussing: Paul Greenberg, the author of “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food,” the biologist and historian John Waldman, and the writers Mark Kurlansky (“Cod,” “The Big Oyster”), Carl Safina (“Song for the Blue Ocean”) and Bruce Franklin (“The Most Important Fish in the Sea”), as well as other scientists and fishmongers. Tickets are $10 for Seaport Museum New York members and $15 for non-members. For more information: email or call 212-748-8786.

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