From Publishers Weekly
The Patagonian toothfish—which can live up to 50 years and grow to six feet long—is an ugly creature considered too bland for eating by most South Americans. Its high fat content, codlike texture and lack of a fishy taste convinced a Los Angeles fish merchant who found the toothfish in Chile in 1977 that, given an exotic new name, it would do quite well in America. By 1998, "Chilean sea bass" had become the hottest restaurant craze: "[e]veryone had to have it." Knecht (The Proving Ground
) weaves a parallel plot, which takes place in the South Indian Ocean in 2003, where an Australian patrol boat is hunting down a pirate vessel for stealing toothfish. The chase takes them thousands of nautical miles away to dangerous Antarctic waters and involves South African mercenaries and a dramatic boarding in dangerous seas. Knecht's gripping book flips between the commercial history of the toothfish—just the latest of many culinary fads that end up threatening an ocean species—and the chase, which illuminates the practically lawless world of commercial fishing, where factory boats with vast dragnets can devastate a population in just a couple of years, a practice the author calls "the marine equivalent of strip mining." First serial in the Wall Street Journal. (May)
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is a fish story, a global whodunit, a courtroom drama--and a critically important ecological message all rolled into one. (Tom Brokaw
It's one of the best ones I've read in years (Tom Brokaw
In 1977 Lee Lantz, a Los Angeles fish wholesaler, came across something new in the Chilean fishing port of Valparaiso. The enormous "fearsome- looking gray-black fish" was called "bacalao de profundidad," or "cod of the deep," by the local fisherman, and nobody wanted it. In "Hooked," G. Bruce Knecht, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, tells how the fish nobody wanted became the trendy Chilean sea bass, and how over the last 30 years it has been fished almost to the point of extinction. In chapters that move from places like the South Indian Ocean to Bridgehampton, N.Y., to Vancouver to Perth, Australia, Mr. Knecht tells of the rise and fall of a fish, as well as of a 4,000-mile chase to seize a pirate fishing boat. (The New York Times