Seema Chandra, Food Editor, NDTV, Updated: August 06, 2012 15:38 IST
So I went to eat lunch at what has become over the last few years, quite a favourite of mine. Amici, for light and uncomplicated Italian food, with prices that are more café-like. The eggplant Parmesana, the thin crust pizzas, the bruschetta, all are very decent here, and even more importantly, consistently good.
Back to the lunch, am about to order when the owner, a friendly chap whom I've chatted with often, walks up and asks us if we need help ordering.
"I think I will just go ahead with the fish. What fish do you serve?" I ask.
"Fish isn't all that good for you, you know that. Its environmentally disastrous." He tells me.
"It's the mercury, I know, but I am such a fish freak. And besides what do you eat. Red meat one avoids, so what does that leave you with. Only chicken." I say.
Then the young lad explains to me it's not the mercury but the plastic in the ocean that's poisonous and so fish should be avoided.
Now I follow most of the international journals from around the world, read Michael Pollan to Bittman. I watch NDTV's brilliant campaign on the sorry state of oceans in our country, this isn't a detail I have read about. I decide to find out the connection. About fish, or the lack of it.
I read about the slow fish movement, that's asking chefs and industry around the world to be careful about what fish to consume and in what quantities.
Its not very good news out there for fish lovers. The future is filled with muddy waters. The ocean fish are diminishing. The farm fish are growing in number. We have overfished over the years, and now need a lot more money and energy now to get the same fish.
We know that mercury from Industrial waste and coal burning power plants is largely responsible for the dwindling fish population. But it turns out that plastic that you see in the form of bottles, paper bags on beaches, dissolves into ocean water, and is eaten by a lot of the small fish. These fish are in turn eaten by bigger fish. And we in turn eat the bigger fish. And so plastic is having an amplifying effect and getting transported directly into the human food supply. This is what my good friend was referring to.
And just in case you want to know more, here is the latest I got from Mark Bittman on the sorry state of affairs of our oceans.
Just for the record, I don't intend to give up eating fish over night . But I may be found picking up the plastic on my next beach holiday. And that will be my reply when I am next told to either fish or cut bait.