This is meant to be read with some humor and levity. That being said, I’m not wrong. All of the points made below are based in fact. Seafood is good for you, your mental health, and the environment. Fish is inexpensive and easy to prepare and any of the arguments against these things are ill-advised and do harm, injustice, and a disservice to coastal communities and fishermen.
“I don’t eat a lot of fish because of the mercury.” Said while smoking cigarettes or eating a large bag of Doritos or drinking a massive soda from McDonald’s. Have you ever heard of someone, anyone, being diagnosed with too much mercury? No? That’s because this is a not a thing. Most tunas contain mercury levels of 0.1 and 0.3 parts per million which is wicked, wicked low. That compared to the 300,000 people that die from obesity related diseases every year. These are deaths that could be prevented with a diet full of healthy and vitamin-rich seafood, including canned tuna and the like. Read more HERE.
“I don’t eat farmed fish because fish farms use a lot of water.” Said while eating a hamburger that necessitates around 650 gallons of water to produce and drinking a single-use plastic bottle of water that uses 22 gallons of water to produce. Cattle production uses an alarming amount of water. Fish farms use about 1/5th the amount of water that cattle farms use, or about 300 gallons of water to produce one pound of fish. And, let’s not even get into the carbon footprint of red meat. OK, let’s. Livestock farming produces almost half of all man-made greenhouse gases. Also, just BTW, wild-caught fish has a water footprint of zero. So, basically, unless you avoid all red meat in your diet, don’t come at me with your environmental arguments against farm-raised seafood. (Interested in your water footprint? Check out the Water Footprint Calculator.)
“It’s a texture thing.” You’re a texture thing.
“I don’t eat seafood because it is too expensive.” Said while checking Instagram on an $800 iPhone, wearing Air Jordans that costs over $150, and buying pre-packaged dinners because they are convenient. Really, I don’t even care about the cost of phones and shoes (You do you.), but it BOGGLES the mind when someone complains about the cost of food but continues to buy prepackaged and preportioned anything. Getting food delivered is five times more expensive than cooking at home and meal kits cost three times more than a homemade dinner. Even buying Goldfish crackers in proportioned packages rather than doing the work yourself (Grab a handful. Put in container.) is more expensive. There are numerous ways to buy fish that are not as expensive -- like buying fish in season or buying fish in volume and freezing it. I’m not sure where the idea that fish needs to be expensive in order to be good came from—maybe bougie chefs? But you don’t need fine dining to enjoy good fish. Not to mention, good seafood requires few ingredients — just butter, fish, and bake and it’s super filling. I tap out at three scallops.
“I don’t eat seafood because it is not good for the environment.” Said while wearing a shirt from American Eagle that has a cutesy saying about Earth Day and carrying a fabric bag that says “This is not a plastic bag” and driving a Prius and talking about this super cool documentary you watched on Netflix the other day, because, guys, like, Earth? We have to save it. It’s called conspicuous conservation and it’s a thing. Basically, it’s cool to be environmentally friendly (or at least appear to be so), and there’s nothing wrong with that but what is wrong is when you’re focused on the trendy part and less-so on the actual environmentally friendly part. Buying a shirt from a fast fashion company is not environmentally friendly, even if it does have a cute picture of the Earth with a smiley face on it. Carrying a fabric bag is great, but again, keep in mind the carbon footprint of creating all of these new cutesy bags that are supposedly environmentally friendly. Guys, just use a goddamn bag you already have. And, just to reiterate this point, fish has an extremely low carbon footprint and our fisheries in the US are highly regulated. Dolphins and whales do not die because of fishermen, they die because the oceans are polluted with your American Eagle t-shirts and fun totes. Fishermen are not polluting the air and water when they are out fishing, you are polluting when you buy tons of shit online that you don’t need while shoving a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in your face.
“I don’t eat seafood because it is not convenient.” Said while using a plastic fork that required a shit ton of energy to produce and will take over 100 years to decompose. Using plastic cutlery might be convenient for you in the moment but if anything is not convenient, it’s plastic cutlery and plates. Fish on the other hand, is in fact convenient because it is the ultimate 20-minute meal. Take that fillet, pour a little olive oil on it with some salt and pepper, and throw it under the broiler for 15-to-20-minutes. Tell me that’s not less convenient than unwrapping whatever shitty frozen meal you’re going to eat, running around trying to find your glasses to read how long you need to heat if up for, realizing you weren’t supposed to unwrap it entirely before heating it, microwaving it for 5-minutes, and then waiting 30-minutes for it to cool off enough so you can eat it. (Also, you can microwave mussels.)
“I don’t like when my dinner looks at me.” I bet your dinner doesn’t it like it when you look at it either.
“I don’t eat seafood because it is too complicated to cook.” Said while watching the Food Network. I use this as an example because Herman and I listened to an episode of Hidden Brain called Close Enough about living vicariously through other people, or more specifically, YouTube videos. Basically, our brains are kinda dumb and lot of people are super lazy. They trick themselves into thinking they are learning something or participating in an act simply by watching it. Did you know you can actually watch videos of people getting ready for bed? This is for people who find adopting a bedtime routine too difficult. You will get far more joy and satisfaction out life, and be much healthier, if you get off your bum and do something. Anything. Cook yo’ self a goddamn meal. Preferably one with fish.
“I don’t eat a lot of fish because this seafood guide tells me not to.” I don’t want to sound crass but, eff those seafood guides, man. Seafood guides do not adapt as quickly as the fishermen and Mother Nature. And, consumers respond better to marketing than education. By the time some of the organizations convince consumers to eat “this” fish instead of “that” fish, “this” fish stock changes and now the messaging has to be updated again. And we have to convince consumers to eat a different fish. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we all agreed to eat a variety of seafood rather than rely solely on a few popular species? Seafood guides have severe unintentional consequences, many of which we are probably unaware, and allow consumers to be complacent about their decision making. Eat a variety of seafood. A fish melange if you will.
“I just don’t like seafood.” That’s fair. I don’t love tomatoes, if I’m being honest, but you’re silly.
Want to learn more about how you can eat more seafood and be a better steward of the environment? Sign up for the Pesce Eater Challenge that will take place this October. Visit the Pesce Challenge page to learn more.