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The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America


The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this brilliant portrait of the oceans' unlikely hero, H. Bruce Franklin shows how menhaden have shaped America's national (and natural) history, and why reckless overfishing now threatens their place in both. Since Native Americans began using menhaden as fertilizer, this amazing fish has greased the wheels of U.S. agriculture and industry. By the mid-1870's, menhaden had replaced whales as a principal source of industrial lubricant, with hundreds of ships and dozens of factories along the eastern seaboard working feverishly to produce fish oil. Since the Civil War, menhaden have provided the largest catch of any American fishery.

Today, one company (Omega Protein) has a monopoly on the menhaden reduction industry. Every year it sweeps billions of fish from the sea, grinds them up, and turns them into animal feed, fertilizer, and oil used in everything from linoleum to health-food supplements.

The massive harvest wouldn't be such a problem if menhaden were only good for making lipstick and soap. But they are crucial to the diet of bigger fish and they filter the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, playing an essential dual role in marine ecology perhaps unmatched anywhere on the planet. As their numbers have plummeted, fish and birds dependent on them have been decimated and toxic algae have begun to choke our bays and seas.

In Franklin's vibrant prose, the decline of a once ubiquitous fish becomes an adventure story, an exploration of the U.S. political economy, a groundbreaking history of America's emerging ecological consciousness, and an inspiring vision of a growing alliance between environmentalists and recreational anglers.

About the Author


H. Bruce Franklin is the John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. He has authored or edited eighteen books, including War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, M.I.A. or Mythmaking in America, Prison Writing in Twentieth-Century America, and Vietnam and Other American Fantasies. Franklin has lectured widely and his hundreds of articles and reviews have appeared in publications including The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Science, The Nation, and Discover.

Table of Contents

The Most Important Fish in the Sea @toc:Table of Contents @tocct:Chapter 1 Now You See Them, Now You Dont @tocct:Chapter 2 The New World of Fish The Fish They Came For The Fish They Found The Fish Thats Different @tocct:Chapter 3 Meeting Menhaden: In Our World and Theirs Face to Face Bait The School The World of the Drifters and Swimmers Survivors? @tocct:Chapter 4 Whales, Menhaden, and Industrialized Fishing Fertilizer: From Indians to Industry How Menhaden Dwarfed the Whales Pursing the Seas @tocct:Chapter 5 The Death of Fish and the Birth of Ecology Science Wades In Food Fish vs. Factory Fish What Took the Fish Away? @tocct:Chapter 6 At War with Menhaden Uncle Sam to the Rescue War! @tocct:Chapter 7 Ecological Catastrophes The Ruins of an Industry Extracting the Liver of the Chesapeake The Case of the Sick Stripers The Case of the Murdered Crabs The Case of the Missing Fish: Shad and River Herring The Case of the Dead Shellfish The Birds The Gulf @tocct:Chapter 8 Collision Courses Recreation or Industry Anglers and Enviros, Or, A Marine Yellowstone? Anglers to the Rescue The ASMFC Thinks the Unthinkable On to Cockrells Creek Challenges @tocct:Chapter 9 The Fish of the Future? Does Omega Mean the Last? Resurrection? Acknowledgements Notes Index

Product Details

Island Press
Marine Life
Franklin, H. Bruce
Nature : Fish
Nature : Animals - Fish
Nature : Ecosystems & Habitats - Oceans & Seas
Computers : Programming Languages - General
United states
United States - General
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Menhaden - United States - History
Menhaden fisheries -- United States -- History.
Animals - Fish
Nature Studies-Ocean and Marine Biology
Publication Date:
March 2007

Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Software Engineering » Programming and Languages
History and Social Science » US History » General
Science and Mathematics » Agriculture » Aquaculture
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Fish
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » Fish
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » General

The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America
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Product details pages Island Press - English 9781597261630 Reviews:
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