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Conservationist Wonders If Devout Jews Can Eat Sustainably – And Kosher

December 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Marine conservationist Paul Greenberg ponders whether it’s possible to find seafood in a restaurant that is both sustainably harvested and kosher. Environmentalists advocate eating sustainable seafood and marine organisms that are beneficial for oceans, rivers, etc. But they include organisms that observant Jews consider trayf – not kosher. Farmed clams, oysters and mussels – trayf – reduce dead zone-causing nitrogen pollution from waterways. Scripture tells Jews what physical characteristics of seafood should be rejected, (e.g., shells, hard-to-remove scales, no fins, etc.), but says nothing about the environmental traits a fishery should have. It gets so complicated that Greenberg wonders whether observant Jews should pass up fish altogether, and order the vegetable plate.
Paul Greenberg, "Can Seafood Be Kosher and Sustainable?", The New York Times, December 13, 2014, © The New York Times Company
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