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May 24, 2006

A Chiller of a Thriller

A Chiller of a Thriller

Chasing Poachers on the high and freezing seas of Antarctica

This is going to be short and salty, but I just finished reading G. Bruce Knecht's new book Hooked - Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish. The perfect fish is of course, a Patagonian toothfish, otherwise known as Chilean Sea Bass. Excuse the pun, but you'll get hooked the first page in, because with it's weaving storyline, and a never-ending array of astonishing facts (between 1996 and 1997, a fleet of about twenty pirate vessels had taken so many toothfish from near Marion Island, South Africa, that they were thought to be commercially extinct), it has all the ingredients of a real page-turner.

South Indian Ocean. August 7, 2003
Southern Supporter was in silent mode as it closed in on its target. The external lights were off, the portholes had been blackened, and no one touched the radio...One day earlier, a sensor on the Australian patrol boat had picked up outbound radar emissions from three nearby vessels...Stephen Duffy, the Australian Customs officer who was leading the patrol, knew exactly what the three vessels were doing. The waters near Heard Island contain one of the world's largest population of Patagonian toothfish. For most of their existence, the prehistoric-looking grey-black creatures thrived in near-frozen obscurity...then chefs fell in love with a white flesh that seemed to accept every spice and hold up to every method of cooking...and fleets of fishing vessels - many of them pirates - sought to capitalize on the burgeoning demand.

More later, but here's a quick quote from Tom Browkaw:
"Hooked is a fish story, a global whodunit, a courtroom drama - and a critically important ecological message all rolled into one. Read this and you'll never look at Chilean Sea Bass on the menu the same way." - Tom Brokaw

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Posted by Bruce at May 24, 2006 05:17 AM

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