Saturday, October 29, 2005

mmm ... toothfish

I usually don't make it through the whole Sunday NY Times, but this week i did and found this cool story about the Chilean Sea Bass. Turns out the species began life as the South Patagonian Toothfish, but switched to its more welll known moniker as a marketing move. Gotta admit, Chilean Sea Bass rolls off the tongue a little easier.

The piece has a lot to say about overfishing, the decline of large predatory fish in the ocean, the role of wildlife in our everyday diet, the politics of large-scale commercial fishing, and even more interestingly, the cost to oceanic eco-systems of farm-raising fish like salmon. No answers here, just good stuff to know.

If you don't have time to read it, here's a cool tidbit. The CSB (or SPT) is a bottom-dwelling predator that has through time evolved to not possess an air bladder. In order to regulate his buoyancy in its absence, the fish actuallly secretes fat directly into his tissues. The fat is less dense than the surrounding water, and bingo, the fish rises. This is cool enough in itself, but according to a chef interviewed in the piece, CSB spend the greater part of their lives marinating themselves in their own delicious fat. Thus making them a dish that is nearly impossible to ruin. Interesting.

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