In Bottomfeeder, by Taras Grescoe, the author brings up some interesting ideas. He talks about how we’ve hunted all the largest of the sea predators, and that the smaller fish and organisms at the bottom of the ocean have exploded in number. He also tells us that in order to try to restore this balance, we have to start eating more of the “bottom feeders”. I agree with his view on us eating more of the ocean’s bottom feeders, as he has a lot of evidence; however, I disagree with some of the arguments he uses to push his idea of a seafood-rich diet forward, specifically his stating that humans grew bigger, more complex brains because of a seafood-rich diet.
Firstly, he makes a good point in his stating we should eat the fish that live at the bottom of the ocean. He says that 90% of the world’s big sea-predators have already been hunted. That is an obvious sign we’ve over-consumed these large predators, and that we should start to eat other seafood sources. It is our job as inhabitants of this earth to take care of it; after all, it’s the only one we have. Not to mention, seafood found at the bottom of the sea is just as nutrient dense as the larger sea-predators, so it’s not like you’ll be missing anything from your diet. They’re full of protein and vitamins just like all other seafood. So not only will you be helping to maintain large-sea predator populations and the ecosystem, you’ll be healthy as a seahorse as well.
He does make very logical points; however, I believe a lot of the facts he tells us to convince us to eat seafood do come from his personal love for seafood and decision to be a pescatarian, and are slightly biased. Specifically, his stating that increased brain size in early humans, and our eventual evolution into modern homo sapiens, was caused by incorporating seafood into our diet. Christopher Wanjek, a columnist on http://www.livescience,com, states that it was man becoming carnivorous that led to their growth in brain size, not Omega-3’s from fish. He is not the first person I’ve seen speaking of this, this concept is quite common. Taras Grescoe puts up many strong points, but the evolution of our brains being caused by fish is nonsense. Even though Omega-3’s are healthy, it was an increase in early man’s caloric intake which led to an increased brain size. This was caused by eating meat, not oysters and caesar salads.
To conclude, I believe Taras Grescoe has an obviously valid argument and strong points to back himself up. However, he tries too hard to push his opinions of seafood onto the reader with a few nonsense facts. “Bottomfeeder” is great, and with a few trimmings here and there, could be a book that you just can’t argue against.
– Stamatis D.