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Ask Paul Johnson about fish

(article, Kim Carlson)

Our dinner last weekend was a ton of fun, but more than amazing food and stimulating conversation, we had an audience of people hungry for information about how to eat with more awareness. We couldn't take all the questions from the audience in the too-short amount of time we had, so Paul Johnson, the fishmonger and fisheries expert from the Bay Area who sat on our panel, has agreed to answer some of the questions here. 

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A little more about Johnson: He founded the Monterey Fish Market of San Francisco in 1979 and for years has provided fish to Chez Panisse and other notable Bay Area restaurants. After nearly three decades of watching the decline of California’s ocean resources and the growing inability of local fishing communities to support themselves, he's pledged to become an active participant working toward solutions to the problems. 

Besides working with many groups to increase awareness about fish habitat and lobby for stronger laws to protect fisheries, Johnson is an advisory board member to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. He's recently published a book, Fish Forever, which advises consumers on healthy, sustainable seafood and fishery issues.

Among the questions we've already received are these:


# What do you feel about "local" when we're talking about seafood? (I know you talked a little about that the other night, but it would be good to elaborate.)
# What's your assessment of the recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay? When would you eat fish from the bay? Give us an update, please.
# Were you aware of the Mark Bittman recipe in the New York Times a while back recommending monkfish? I know he got a lot of heat for recommending an endangered fish. Care to comment?


The deadline for sending questions for Johnson is noon PST on Monday, December 10. Please send your questions to

Update: Thanks for all the questions. We will be publishing more about sustainable seafood in the near future, along with Paul's answers to your questions. Check back!

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