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Billion-dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock Hardcover – 10 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (10 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022602234X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226022345
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,764,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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." -Tim D. Smith, author of Scaling Fisheries"

About the Author

Kevin M. Bailey is a senior scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and affiliate professor at the University of Washington.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Interesting path to a challenging subject... 9 July 2013
By D.S.Thurlow - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Bering Sea Pollock fishery is currently the largest single fishery, by volume, for the U.S. and Russia, which share the Bering Sea. Kevin Bailey's "Billion-Dollar Fish" tells the history of that fishery and in the process explores the challenges of modern fisheries management.

Bailey takes a meandering path through his topic, mixing personal anecdotes about time at sea in the Bering with almost breathless accounts of the intense commercial competition to exploit the Pollock fishery, and with some careful commentary on the shifting and evolving state of the marine science which has influenced the management of the fishery over the years. There are well-developed vignettes about some of the colorful and strong characters one can encounter in Alaskan fisheries. Bailey devotes time and effort to describing the controversial politics of managing the Bering Sea fishery, especially as it has played out in the State of Alaska and in the U.S. Congress. The processes Bailey describes have led on the one hand to the undoubted disaster of the doughnut hole, still barren of Pollock twenty years after a moratorium ending fishing there, and on the other hand, to the current thriving Bering Sea Pollock fishery, albeit with a challenging future.

This book would likely have benefited from additional editing; those readers not already familiar with the fisheries business may find it hard to follow. Readers wedded to a particular point of view on the subject of fisheries may be frustrated by Bailey's evenhanded approach. However, this fisheries analyst and former Alaska resident found much of interest in the book, and appreciated Bailey's willingness to admit the limits of the current science and to explore all sides of a complicated topic. Recommended.
The Fishing History Of One Of The Most Eaten Fish In The World 12 Nov. 2013
By Frederick S. Goethel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is a complete look at the history of the fishing industry as it relates to the Alaskan pollack, a fish which has become one of the most eaten fish in the world. Originally considered a trash fish, the pollack has gone on to be eaten in numerous ways and in dozens of countries and it supports a massive fishery in the waters of Alaska.

The book begins with the history of fishing for cod in Alaska waters and covers the period when anyone with a net could fish just about anywhere. It details the feud between foreign fisherman and US based fisherman and how this led to creating exclusive economic zones for fishing in the waters surrounding all nations. Now the fighting that goes on is between smaller US vessels known as day boats and the larger and much more productive factory draggers. That fight still continues, and most likely will for the foreseeable future.

The book offers the history of the pollack, but this same story could apply to dozens of other fisheries in the United States, particularly the cod fishery in New England, which has all but shut down. The Alaskan pollack is a success story as it is considered to be a self sustaining fishery, which will hopefully produce fish to the US Markets for some time to come. Certainly more work and study is needed, but at the current time, this is state of the art fishery management.

This book is a fascinating look at the history of a fishery and how it can be managed so that it continues to produce fish and keep fishermen working. I would highly recommend it to those interested in fisheries management or to those simply curious about the fish that they eat.
Salutorily Even Handed 23 Nov. 2013
By Jeffrey Rayner - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Formerly working in the Industry, and proud to have done so, I found this book extremely even-handed, and appreciated the author's knowledge of international treaties, such as Quota Allocations, that affect every fin-and-feather lover on the Big Blue Marble. Believe it or not, commercial fishing concerns would like to be in business generations down the road...
Know what you eat 20 July 2014
By Johanna Haas - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Thorough and detailed - this book tells all the tales of the North Pacific pollock fishery - from its beginnings to its rationalization to today's uncertainty. Includes interesting stories and personalities in the science, economics, and politics.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Billion Dollar Fish 24 May 2013
By Malcolm Sloan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book and I couldn't put it down. Hilarious characters, seafaring yarns and jaw dropping facts fill its pages. On the free high seas, greed knows no bounds. Tragedies at sea have been lucrative.

Billion Dollar Fish brings the Bering Sea into your living room. It courageously asks important economic, social, political, scientific and management questions. It suggests hopeful paths forward.

If you are interested in our world's oceans, this book is a must read.
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