Synopses & Reviews
Alaska pollock is everywhere. If youandrsquo;re eating fish but you donandrsquo;t know what kind it is, itandrsquo;s almost certainly pollock. Prized for its generic fish taste, pollock masquerades as crab meat in california rolls and seafood salads, and it feeds millions as fish sticks in school cafeterias and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at McDonaldandrsquo;s. That ubiquity has made pollock the most lucrative fish harvest in Americaandmdash;the fishery in the United States alone has an annual value of over one billion dollars. But even as the money rolls in, pollock is in trouble: in the last few years, the pollock population has declined by more than half, and some scientists are predicting the fisheryandrsquo;s eventual collapse.and#160;In Billion-Dollar Fish
, Kevin M. Bailey combines his years of firsthand pollock research with a remarkable talent for storytelling to offer the first natural history of Alaska pollock. Crucial to understanding the pollock fishery, he shows, is recognizing what aspects of its natural history make pollock so very desirable to fish, while at the same time making it resilient, yet highly vulnerable to overfishing. Bailey delves into the science, politics, and economics surrounding Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, detailing the development of the fishery, the various political machinations that have led to its current management, and, perhaps most important, its impending demise. He approaches his subject from multiple angles, bringing in the perspectives of fishermen, politicians, environmentalists, and biologists, and drawing on revealing interviews with players who range from Greenpeace activists to fishing industry lawyers.and#160;Seamlessly weaving the biology and ecology of pollock with the history and politics of the fishery, as well as Baileyandrsquo;s own often raucous tales about life at sea, Billion-Dollar Fish
is a book for every person interested in the troubled relationship between fish and humans, from the depths of the sea to the dinner plate.
"In this devastating book, first published in Great Britain and now revised and updated for North American readers, Clover, environment editor of London's Daily Telegraph, shows that fishing with modern technology has put us just a hairsbreadth away from destroying entire ocean ecosystems. New England's fisheries have collapsed, the fish stocks of West Africa's continental shelf are overexploited, few cod are left in Newfoundland's Grand Banks, and, according to one study, 90% of the large fish in the ocean in 1950 have disappeared. Clover finds many people to blame, including trawlers with huge nets that destroy everything in their wake, incompetent scientists, dishonest governmental agencies, celebrity chefs with endangered species on their menus, and the general public, which pays no attention to how the fish it eats is obtained. He's especially critical of the European Union, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and countries like Japan and Spain that persist in illegal fishing. Clover's hard-hitting approach will probably anger some, but his argument that we will soon run out of fish unless we take drastic measures such as establishing huge no-take zones where fish stocks can recover is persuasive." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
andldquo;Few would be accused of romanticising the pollockandmdash;a fish about which only the most devoted marine biologists would use the word andlsquo;charismatic.andrsquo; But the fishermenandrsquo;s tales of its hunting to near extinction are no less fantastical. . . . [Baileyandrsquo;s] book isnandrsquo;t really about the fish at all. It is about a modern-day gold rush, a Wild West of the high seas, and an environmental catastrophe.andrdquo;
andldquo;Bailey blends science with competitive fighting over a substantial pile of money. . . . Never boring or entangled in scientific jargon, Billion-Dollar Fish practically makes pollock fishing out to be The Old Man and the Sea.andrdquo;
andldquo;[T]he first natural history of this ubiquitous fish and an analysis of its population. Although the market for pollockandmdash;worth more than a billion dollars a year in the United States aloneandmdash;seems buoyant compared with some others, Bailey unveils a familiar tale of steep decline.andrdquo;
andldquo;Not that itandrsquo;s a bad thing, but sometimes Billion-Dollar Fish reads like two different books: one a compelling history of the Alaska pollock fishery, the other an excellent primer on the development of fisheries science and resource strategy.andrdquo;
andldquo;Billion-Dollar Fish is an eye-opener for those who have caught themselves pondering the origins of their fried fish sandwiches.andrdquo;
andldquo;[Bailey] writes in a workmanlike style but lightens his account with sporadic portraits of colorful and powerful personalities from the commercial fishing business and its environmentalist antagonists. . . . Billion-Dollar Fish conveys the story of pollock with his skeptical, but affectionate, eye for industrial and environmental claims alike.andrdquo;
and#8220;[Bailey] paints a revealing picture of the colourful personalities at sea and ashore whose economic imperatives raised rates of fishing mortality to levels which, experience was to show, made little long-term biological or even economic sense.and#8221;
and#8220;Bailey is more than a fishery biologist specializing in Alaskan pollock. He is also a talented writer with a graceful style who can casually deliver a wealth of unusual insights and enliven his topic. . . . Bailey is one of those aristocrats among science writers whose work illuminates his field, rewarding general readers as well as professionals. Billion-Dollar Fish is the most authoritative source of information on the USand#8217;s most important fish. Essential.and#8221;
2013 Outstanding Academic Title
and#8220;An engaging, knowledgeable, and entertaining book. . . . Baileyand#8217;s book is an eloquent illustration of the ways in which human institutions, useful at first, can run out of control and do more harm than good.and#8221;
and#8220;Bailey has written a very personal account of the Alaska pollock as an industry, a food source, and a species. His ability to see multiple viewpoints comes from a career on commercial boats, aboard research vessels, with Alaskan communities, and in laboratories. . . . [Bailey] sheds light on the complex ways that industry figures, politicians, and scientists use their different stores of money, power, and knowledge to influence the decisions that affect pollock populations, the fisheries, and their management. The wide scope of Billion-Dollar Fish means that every reader, regardless of his or her background, will learn new things from this book.and#8221;
and#8220;This is a excellent book, . . . full of exciting tales of Norse cowboys, native peoples, fish biologists, and a multitude of fishers battling the mighty North Pacific with plenty of heroics, risk, stupidity, and adventures.and#160; Of the various books Iand#8217;ve reviewed so far, Iand#8217;d have to give it my highest rating of 10 fish.and#8221;
andldquo;With the clear eye of a scientist and firsthand experience out on the high seas, Kevin M. Bailey presents the explosive rise and potential collapse of Americaandrsquo;s most valuable fishery. Surprising and disconcerting, beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Kevin M. Baileyandrsquo;s Billion-Dollar Fish
gets to the bottom of how and why we decimate what could continuously provide substantial sustenance and wealth. With compassion and clarity, he points a way out of this difficult and inexcusable mess. All of us who eat fish will want to know this story.andrdquo;
andldquo;Kevin M. Baileyandrsquo;s Billion-Dollar Fish
captures the high-stakes international battles over the business and biology of Alaska pollock fishing, the most valuable food fishery in the world. Baileyandrsquo;s perspective is as a noncombatant giving scientific advice in a battle for money conducted on the battleground of the sea. Such battles have been and continue to be fought over many other species in all parts of the seaandmdash;for example, codfish, whales, tuna, and squid. This book provides an accessible and entertaining description of decades of hidden financial and scientific battles over a fish that most of us have eaten, unaware of this war.andrdquo;
andldquo;It is remarkable that a book describing one of our nationandrsquo;s largest fisheries has never been writtenandmdash;until now. Lucky for us, Kevin M. Bailey, a well-respected fisheries scientist who knows the fish and fishery better than anyone, tells the story of the billion-dollar fish that few know by nameandmdash;Alaska pollock. Bailey creates an anticipation of andlsquo;what happens nextandrsquo; to the fish, fishermen, environmentalists, politicians, and scientists that makes it hard to put this book down.andrdquo;
andldquo;Kevin M. Bailey turns his well-honed research and writing skills to explain how science, international economics, and national politics turned the lowly walleye pollock into the billion-dollar fish. This story will inform, entertain, and astonish its readers with the complexities of managing the removal of protein from the sea for human consumption.andrdquo;
"Devastating . . . a succinct and powerful crash course on the pressing environmental issues surrounding fish that should send consumer awareness soaring." —The Daily Mail
"Persuasive and desperately disturbing, this book is the maritime equivalent of Silent Spring." —The Independent
and#8220;A modern-day tale of an aquatic gold rush. . . . Bailey is an accomplished fisheries scientist, yet he does a remarkable job of providing insightful social and economic viewpoints. His breadth of discussion and the historical context throughout the book is rich and multifaceted with diverse perspectives from environmentalists, businessmen, scientists, and even popular culture. . . . Billion-Dollar Fish should be required reading for students of conservation and the environment, anyone involved in the fishing industry, or general readers with a healthy curiosity of humanityand#8217;s relationship with the natural world.and#8221;
and#8220;Bailey does an excellent job describing the biology and ecology of the species has spent much time researching, but he does well beyond these topics. Bailey describes the fishery from the perspectives of the fishermen, politicians, environmentalists, and scientists. These perspectives are pieced together from books, scientific papers, popular press articles, and Baileyand#8217;s recollections. Additionally, these perspectives are masterfully brought to life through in-depth interviews, and Baileyand#8217;s descriptions give the reader a sense of being present at the interview while experiencing the emotions of interviewer and interviewee. . . . Given its interdisciplinary range, this book would be appropriate for readers interested in the environment, conservation, history, politics, policy, biology, oceans, and fishing. Readers will appreciate the pictures, figures, and sidebars throughout the book. . . . Billion-Dollar Fish could be used as a case study in undergraduate or graduate courses in fisheries and conservation biology or in other disciplines such as economics, management, and social sciences.and#8221;
Gourmands and health-conscious consumers alike have fallen for fish; last year per capita consumption in the United States hit an all-time high. Packed with nutrients and naturally low in fat, fish is the last animal we can still eat in good conscience. Or can we?
In this vivid, eye-opening book—first published in the UK to wide acclaim and now extensively revised for an American audience—environmental journalist Charles Clover argues that our passion for fish is unsustainable. Seventy-five percent of the world’s fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished; the most popular varieties risk extinction within the next few decades.
Clover trawls the globe for answers, from Tokyo’s sumptuous fish market to the heart of New England’s fishing industry. He joins hardy sailors on high-tech boats, interviews top chefs whose menu selections can influence the fate of entire species, and examines the ineffective organizations charged with regulating the world’s fisheries. Along the way he argues that governments as well as consumers can take steps to reverse this disturbing trend before it’s too late. The price of a mouthwatering fillet of Chilean sea bass may seem outrageous, but The End of the Line shows its real cost to the ecosystem is far greater.
In this vivid, eye-opening book--first published in the UK to wide acclaim and now extensively revised for an American audience--environmental journalist Charles Clover argues that our passion for fish is unsustainable. Seventy-five percent of the world's fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished; the most popular varieties risk extinction within the next few decades.
About the Author
Kevin M. Bailey is the founding director of the Man and Sea Institute and affiliate professor at the University of Washington. He formerly was a senior scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and is the author of Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
PrefacePrologue: Fishing Lessons
1and#160;Introduction: White Gold Fever
2and#160;A Historical Background: From an Inexhaustible Ocean to the Three-Mile Limit
3and#160;Fishing the High Seas: Japan and the Soviet Union Develop the Harvest of Pollock in the Bering Sea
4and#160;Americanization! The Rush for White Gold and the Developing Fishery
5and#160;An Empty Donut Hole: The Great Collapse of a North Pacific Pollock Stock
6and#160;Viking Invasion: Norwayand#8217;s Link to the Pollock Industry
7and#160;A New Fish on the Block: Advancing Knowledge of Pollock Biology
8and#160;A New Ocean: Changing Concepts of Ocean Production and Management of Fisheries
9and#160;Factories of Doom: The Pollock Fishing Industry Clashes with the Environment
10and#160;All in the Family: Olympic Fishing and Domestic Strife in the Industry
11and#160;Bridge over Troubled Water: Tranquility after the American Fisheries Act
12and#160;Alaska Pollockand#8217;s Challenging Future
Appendix A: Terminology
Appendix B: Other Abbreviations