The Viarsa, a fishing vessel registered in Uruguay but owned in Spain, has loaded up on illegally caught Patagonian toothfish (commonly called Chilean Sea Bass), and is now on the run. In pursuit is Southern Supporter, a Fisheries and Patrol vessel belonging to the Australian government. Unarmed and unsure how to proceed, Southern Supporter decides to pursue the chase. What results, is probably the longest pursuit on the high seas in history. At stake, ultimately, is the fate of our world’s oceans, which were once thought to be an endless source of food. Author G. Bruce Knecht articulates this incredible true story in his book Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish (2006).
The Southern Supporter’s actions, along with many others attempts to thwart illegal pirating, have helped shape the current international policy on protecting fisheries around the world.
While parts of the book read like fiction, the rest is an interesting and informative look at the state of global fishing stocks and what is being done to ensure the survival of endangered species and ecosystems. I started the book with the understanding that sustainable fishing is important. I didn’t realize, however, how important it truly is, and just how severely overfished many species and areas are. Perhaps most shocking though, is the regular consumer’s complete lack of understanding and general apathy about the fish on their plate and the fish remaining in the sea.
This is a message that absolutely must be heard, and author G. Bruce Knecht does his part with the enlightening and entertaining book Hooked.
Keep an eye out in April as we post two more reviews on books about sustainable fishing and the current state of the world’s fishing stocks.