[UCP Books]: Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock

“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 America’s most valuable fishery. Surprising and disconcerting, beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Kevin M. Bailey’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.”

Deborah Cramer, author of Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World

 Billion-Dollar Fish
The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock

By Kevin M. Bailey

Publication date: May 15, 2013 Cloth $25.00/₤17.50
International Publication Date: May 27, 2013  978-0-226-02234-5


Earlier this year McDonald’s launched an advertising campaign to promote the wild-caught Alaska pollock found in its Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and newly released Fish McBites. And while this was good news for the pollock fishing industry—which boasts an annual value of over one billion dollars—it may be bad news for the pollock: in the last few years, the pollock population has declined by more than half, and some scientists are predicting the fishery’s eventual collapse.

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.

Seamlessly weaving the biology and ecology of pollock with the history and politics of the fishery, as well as Bailey’s own often raucous tales of 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.
Kevin M. Bailey is the founding director of Man & Sea Institute and affiliate professor at the University of Washington.
Please contact Micah Fehrenbacher at (773) 702-7717 or micahf@uchicago.edu for more information.



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