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Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish Paperback – May 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Hooked is a fish story, a global whodunit, a courtroom drama, and a critically important ecological message all rolled into one.” ―Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation

“A high-seas adventure with enough action and suspense to have you holding your breath. A mystery that untangles the roots of a culinary fad fitfully hatched and marketed from Los Angeles. A courtroom thriller. Proof positive that an objective eye is the most persuasive of all. Mr. G. Bruce Knecht, take a bow.” ―Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594866945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594866944
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When was the last time you ordered fish at a restaurant? Have you ever wondered how those fish got there? How about Chilean Sea Bass? My wife and I have ordered it dozens of times. Very tasty. One of my favorites. Once you read "Hooked", you might want to reconsider. "Hooked" is an adventure tale of how our oceans are being stripped of fish in unenlightened ways. This book is fascinating reading as fast paced as an adventure novel. I guarantee you'll enjoy it and learn so much about things you never knew about--fish, our oceans, ice, maritime laws. Every person who has ever ordered fish from a restaurant should read it. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book detailing an illegal fishing expedition in Australian water resulting in a forced boarding after a lengthy chase to north of South Africa, as well as the resulting trial. But that is not the most interesting story of the book. The author details the discovery of Chilean Sea Bass (bass? what a joke), the marketing angle, and the subsequent ecological tragedy as the sea beds are over fished in 15 years. The author did excellent research and tells this compelling tale while teaching the reader about the fishing industry, legal and illegal, and the current state of our fishing beds. One concern I have about the book is it is somewhat disjointed as he jumps from country to country at one point adding in a story of a fishing company owner living in America who is arrested for importing fish illegally caught. Also, in many respects the trial at the end of the book is very anti-climatic.

Overall though, this is a very interesting book where you will learn quite a bit about the fishing industry and problems with our supplies of fish.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perfect fish? This is the perfect book! Hooked is part pirate chase, part history, part courtroom drama, and part musings on globalization. And it is incredible. Knecht somehow threads disparate stories together to tell a tale about the consequences of an advertising executive's decision to change the name of Patagonian toothfish to Chilean Sea Bass, and the resultant mania it caused. Basically, sophisticated urban diners search for the new, new thing combined with a fish so oily that inexperienced chefs could not over-cook it results in... the worlds longest pirate chase.
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Format: Hardcover
HOOKED: PIRATES POACHING AND THE PERFECT FISH promises much for a wide audience, from those interested in fishing to others researching modern-day pirating and the politics of the sea. The explosive world-wide demand for popular fish has all but fostered over-fishing and all but condoned seafood piracy: HOOKED combines culinary history with a world-wide chase to document the fading Chilean Sea Bass, a prehistoric-looking fish with the richness of tuna and the texture of butter. It's hard to place this rich text: part culinary history, part social inquiry, largely environmental exploration - it also fits under 'True Adventure'. Many will find it compelling.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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By Dave on December 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just returned from a fishing adventure driving all over Canada, Alaska and Prince of Wales Island this book really hit home.

The SAD truth is there are too many mouths to be fed and plenty of "pirates" willing to risk life and limb (and jail time) to rape the ocean to bring the fish to market. Incredible true story.

Should be required reading in all high schools.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful adventure and true story. It starts out a bit slow but revs into high gear for an amazing chase. If you cook, eat out and or love fish this book will be a fun and educational read about our oceans and fishing industry.
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Format: Hardcover
Even if one doesn't care about the plight of marine species like Chilean Seabass this book makes a great read! It is a thrilling good guy bad guy story taking place in a desolate part of the world. It also very informative and insightful regarding Marine Conservation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book. There are two stories. One involves a pursuit on the high seas, the other is the story of the fish itself, from the fishing net to the table.
You will be on the edge of your seat.
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