THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 20, 2021
Sometimes one thought leads to another. Before you know it dots you did not even know existed have been connected. Hence, a small germ of a thought morphs into an entire line of thought.
This happened to me recently when I read an article about Asian carp. I was aware of the species, primarily because of its “wow” factor. You know, this is the fish that seemingly flies though the air and jumps into fishing boats, damaging equipment and injuring humans in the process. (See a video at: https://youtu.be/rPeg1tbBt0A)
Asian carp is also a fish that scares the pants off anyone interesting in Great Lakes fishing. The Alliance for the Great Lakes says: “Asian carp have long been recognized as a threat to the Great Lakes and the region’s $7 billion fishing industry. We are on the verge of an unstoppable crisis for the Great Lakes region, and now is our best chance to stop these aggressive fish from crashing our economy and environment. Asian carp have been found in the Chicago River, as close as nine miles from Lake Michigan.” Right now, only an electrified fence stands as the major defense against the invasion. (https://greatlakes.org/2019/08/new-study-finds-asian-carp-threat-to-lake-michigan-is-greater-than-previously-thought/)
In an attempt to reduce their numbers, Asian carp are being harvested for use as fertilizer, bait and dog food. But another use is being proposed – eat them. Ah, but there is a small problem with this approach. “It's been hard to get the human consumption part of this because of the four-letter word: carp.”
The solution? Call the Asian carp something else. “A full-on media blitz is coming. The proposed new name for the fish is being kept tightly under wraps for a big rollout in June.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/02/08/asian-carp-rebranding-fish-get-new-name-appeal-eaters/4430629001/)
This tactic has worked before. “The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service gave the slimehead a rebranding in the late 1970s in an effort to make the underused fish more marketable. How about some orange roughy?” So, if later this summer you dine on a new “Zipadeedodahfish” entree and find yourself with an urge to leap into a fishing boat, you'll know why.
Oh, but you say, Americans are not that easy to dupe. Well, consider this. “An analysis of forty-four recent studies of more than 9,000 seafood samples from restaurants, fishmongers and supermarkets in more than thirty countries found that thirty-six percent were mislabelled, exposing seafood fraud on a vast global scale. The UK and Canada had the highest rates of mislabelling in that study, at fifty-five percent, followed by the US at thirty-eight percent.” I'm no math genius, but this could mean that when you sit down to a fish dinner what is on your plate has a one in three probability of not being what is is supposed to be. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/15/revealed-seafood-happening-on-a-vast-global-scale)
There is some good news on the fish dinner front, however. If you enjoy a good shark fillet, some new species may be of interest. Better yet, you won't need candlelight for a romantic dinner because the seafood will do the work.
Scientists say they have found three deepwater shark species living off New Zealand that glow in the dark. One of them, the kitefin shark, is now the largest known luminous vertebrate and can reach up to six feet.” (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56256808)
When it comes to fish, then, the old proviso “you are what you eat” is a bit of a roll of the dice. It's enough to make you want to bite into something meaty. Be careful if you do this, particularly if you are a burglar.
See, German police have just used DNA evidence to solve a case. “Our colleagues recovered a piece of sausage that the burglar had bitten into, on which we could preserve his DNA. The suspect was found to have broken into five homes in the area.”
Reports did not identify the type of sausage the hungry robber consumed. Police did note, however, that for the crook it was a “wurst case” scenario. (https://www.newser.com/story/303613/burglar-idd-thanks-to-bite-of-sausage.html)
Kidding aside, regardless of our diet the ultimate goal for everyone is to live as long as possible. In this regard what you eat may be important, but where you eat may be even more revealing.
“When it comes to life expectancy, not all states are created equal. At least according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average life expectancy in the U.S. as a whole came in at 78.7 years, with men averaging 76.2 years overall and women 81.2. But the numbers varied widely when it came to individual states. Hawaii ranked No.1 for life expectancy at 81 years, followed by California at 80.8, New York and Minnesota both at 80.5, and Connecticut at 80.4. West Virginia ranked the lowest overall at 74.4 years, preceded by Mississippi at 74.6, Alabama at 75.1 and Kentucky at 75.3 years.”
This is all pre-COVID data. “In January, researchers from USC and Princeton University released a study suggesting it (COVID) may shorten life expectancy by 1.13 years.” (https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/which-states-longest-life-expectancies-shortest-life-expectancies-160420160.html)
How does Michigan fare in life expectancy? We are thirty-fifth with an average of 77.7 years. We could all live longer if food scientists would just direct their efforts in the proper direction. As newspaper columnist Doug Larson has stated: “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.”