Guilty Planet

Shame on Spot-Prawn Fascists

There is a reason people are pushing for increased marine protected areas (which currently protect less than 0.1% — yes, that decimal place is supposed to be there — of our ocean from fishing). MPAs work. That’s why in California they passed legislation ten years ago to create an underwater national park system. Now, finally, the project is underway. But not without some contention. Some fishermen are not too happy about closing areas to their industry. But spot prawn lovers are also sulking.

In the LA Weekly, a food blogger wrote this lede:

Your favorite Santa Barbara spot prawn dish, like Michael Cimarusti’s signature salt-roasted ones at his Melrose Avenue restaurant Providence, may be a thing of the past if the most extreme versions of the South Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) proposals pass.

I know that humans relate to marine wildlife primarily through our appetites but to see it so manifestly in the LA Weekly post makes me wonder if we actually belong to the species Homo boneheadedus. What is wrong with us? Maybe we, especially the California food lover subspecies, need a salt-roasted spot prawn to the eye…


  1. #1 Bradley Soule
    September 29, 2009

    I don’t like the lead either, but at least the issue is pretty well addressed in the short post.

    There’s only so many so many ways you can say “the world will end unless we fix environmental problem X” before people just ignore you.

  2. #2 Rachel Brewton
    October 1, 2009

    Maybe LA food bloggers should stick to food, and not discussion of environmental issues? I am sure fish and chips was delicious with cod- and look where that got us.

  3. #3 Katharine
    October 7, 2009

    Here’s your first mistake: assuming that because they are food connoisseurs, they will care about the creatures they eat.

    From a psychological standpoint, it makes very little sense for someone who is all about the food to care for what they’re killing and digesting.

    Some people manage to enjoy eating things they also care about; those animals probably have some sort of established farming program. I suspect the people whining about spot prawn do not care much about living spot prawn; they will, of course, probably whine more if the spot prawn is no longer available.

  4. #4 rx-1
    October 7, 2009

    ome people manage to enjoy eating things they also care about; those animals probably have some sort of established farming program.

  5. #5 kids
    November 18, 2009


  6. #6 eric hooper
    January 22, 2010

    What evidence do you have thats not anecdotal that MPA’s work? And whats your criteria for working, just less fishing?

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