Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood
by Taras Grescoe (HarperCollins Canada, 2008)
Distribute to students “Excerpts from Bottomfeeder” and ask them to look closely at the title and subtitle of Grescoe’s book. He has said that the message of his book is contained in the title.
Explain that the word “bottomfeeder” can mean either (a) a fish or other organism living and feeding near the bottom of a body of water or (b) a person who exploits or lives parasitically off others. Grescoe explains that by his use of the term he means “somebody who routinely eats closer to the bottom than to the top of the oceanic food chain.” Ask students:
• What clues to Grescoe’s purpose and intended audience are implied in his choice of title and subtitle?
• What expectations for his book do you get from the combination of the terms “bottomfeeder,” “how to,” “eat ethically,” and “vanishing seafood”?
• What do you know about the issues implied by his title and subtitle? What perspective on those issues is likely from this author? What is your perspective on those issues?
See the teaching resource for more lesson ideas.
Cross-curricular Suggestions: Geography, Social Studies, Science, Food and Nutrition
Bottomfeeder could supplement sections of courses in which students learn about the social and physical relationship among people, places, and environments, and the decision-making that goes into the resource management and sustainable stewardship of endangered ecosystems. A close study of Grescoe’s narrative about what can be done in response to the world’s vanishing seafood will help students develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and inquiry skills.