Bacalhau superstar

Article published on Jan. 29, 2009
community published
Article published on Jan. 29, 2009
Mark Kurlansky’s prized book on Codfish (Gadus morhua or ‘Bacalhau’ in Portuguese) is full of curious and quite strange facts. The protagonist, an open-mouthed fish that swallows whatever it finds, is honoured to the skies and as the title makes clear codfish changed the world.
The book has a great deal of convincing arguments and runs brilliantly throughout 1000 years of fishing history - and its economical and political connectedness - making also great accounts of the main countries involved (remarkably Iceland and the Basque Country but too, in a lesser extent, Portugal). The book draws valuable messages from the overfishing practices, logically extended to other domains of natural resource exploitation. As Mark puts it, no matter what we do… “Nature, the ultimate pragmatist, doggedly searches for something that works. But as the cockroach demonstrates, what works best in nature does not always appeal to us”.