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03/13/2010

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Rol

I keep seeing tilapia everywhere too. The tilapia CRAZE! Maybe it's just another culinary trend, kind of like in the 90s you couldn't throw a rock without hitting something that was either "blackened Cajun style" or had arugula in it. Except at least those had distinct flavors.

I should also make explicit the most obvious (to me anyway) reason local fish is more E.C. than tilapia: The energy, usually fossil fuels, needed to ship tilapia to us from faraway lands where they're landed.

Scott Parker

Hmm. Is it just me, or does tilapia usually taste... dirty? Gritty? Haven't had many pleasant culinary experiences with this fish. Gimme rockfish any day! :)

Finesmell

Tilapia comprise several species of African cichlids that were promoted throughout the developing world as a cheap source of protein, that can be easily grown in minimal space, with minimal resources, and - if done correctly - with minimal impact on the local watershed. Big "if" there, but these are the reasons for the (usually erroneous) assumption that they're "E.C." Basically, they're popping up on everybody's menu because they're cheap, and marketers are making a killing on them.

So yeah, whether we're talking about fish or potatoes, local is always more sustainable ... and part of the reason tilapia was first promoted in developing nations is that it can be made local - anywhere. Native wild-caught fish are usually superior, of course ... but if you scrub toilets for a living, and your double shifts and half dozen kids don't allow you the time to toss a line in the surf, tilapia may be more in your budget than rockfish. Whether or not tilapia is sustainable, of course, depends on the source - and I'd imagine that the tilapia in most trendy restaurants is probably more suspect than the tilapia in some blue collar mom-and-pop grocery stores ... but I can't really vouch for that ... now that's something for Lombard of the Intertidal's operatives to research!

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