Almost Meatless: The Case for Oysters

Recently, I've been reading (and watching) a lot about fish, and how few of them are left. This has definitely thrown a wrench in my love for munching on marine life. When I recently read that a local restaurant was getting in a 600-lb. blue fin tuna from the Mediterranean, I wasn't hungry, I was aghast.

In short, I've been talking and thinking a lot about how to sustainably enjoy things that come from the sea. When I was in California last week, we took a family drive up to Point Reyes where we sat outside at picnic tables along Tomalas Bay, drank Laguinitas IPAs (we actually drove through the town of Laguinitas on the way up) and ate fresher-than-fresh oysters, both raw and barbecued. At some point, mid-slurp, I started rambling to my family about how sustainable oysters are and how surprised I am that more eco-minded eaters (including vegetarians) don't sing their praises. 

Well, someone just did. And a vegan no less. From Slate

But what if we could find an animal that thrived in a factory-farm cage, one that subsisted on nutrients plucked from the air and that was insensate to the slaughterhouse blade? Even if that animal looked like a bunny rabbit crossed with a puppy, it would be A-OK to hack it into pieces for your dinner plate. Luckily for those of us who still haven't gotten over the death of Bambi's mother, the creature I'm thinking of is decidedly less cuddly. Biologically, oysters are not in the plant kingdom, but when it comes to ethical eating, they are almost indistinguishable from plants. Oyster farms account for 95 percent of all oyster consumption and have a minimal negative impact on their ecosystems; there are even nonprofit projects devoted to cultivating oysters as a way to improve water quality. Since so many oysters are farmed, there's little danger of overfishing. No forests are cleared for oysters, no fertilizer is needed, and no grain goes to waste to feed them—they have a diet of plankton, which is about as close to the bottom of the food chain as you can get.

Sparked a craving? For local oyster eating, both Oyster House and Fish offer 'em for a dollar during Happy Hour, and Oyster House is getting raves for their oyster scrapple.