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In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe (The Devil's Picnic) whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the "turbid and murky" Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oysters too few to do their filtering job, fish are infested with the "cell from hell," a micro-organism that eats their flesh and exposes their guts. He describes how Indian shrimp farms treated with pesticides, antibiotics and diesel oil are destroying protective mangroves, ecosystems and villages, and portrays the fate of sharks-a collapsing fishery-finned for the Chinese delicacy shark-fin soup: "living sharks have their pectoral and dorsal fins cut from their bodies with heated metal blades.... The sharks are kicked back into the ocean, alive and bleeding; it can take them days to die." But these horrific scenes are interspersed with delectable meals of succulent Portuguese sardines with "fat-jeweled juices" or a luscious breakfast of bluefin tuna sashimi, "cool and moist... halfway between a demi-selBreton butter and an unctuous steak tartare"; the latter is a dish that, due to the fish's endangered status, Grescoe decides he won't enjoy again. The book ends on a cautiously optimistic note: scientists know what steps are needed to save the fisheries and the ocean; we just need the political will to follow through. Grescoe provides a helpful list of which fish to eat: "no, never," "depends, sometimes" and "absolutely, always." (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.