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Lee van der Voo

The Fish Market: Inside the Big-Money Battle for the Ocean and Your Dinner Plate

Book Summary

When consumers think of seafood they seem to forget fishing, but that is precisely what they should be thinking of. Since the 90s, and increasingly in the last 15 years, the U.S. government has been privatizing fisheries, one of the most precious natural resources of the nation, with mixed results in the name of sustainable fishing.

Catch Shares, the aptly named privatization program, has come to be dominated by larger and larger corporations, devastated coastal communities and higher prices for consumers at dinner tables.

Journalist Lee Van Der Voo investigates how Catch Share programs have changed fishing for good. Although supplies of fresher fish are available to the market, the precious cargo comes at prices that are sometimes five-fold higher, and also at the cost of significant job losses as well as widespread devastation among fishing families. The Fish Market reveals how big money has finally taken over the oceans and fishing communities alike. 

Key Topics

  • What is driving fishermen families away from passing trade on to the next generation?
  • How is the privatization of fisheries through Catch Share programs affecting fishing communities?
  • What is the impact of a small number of large operations controlling one of the nation’s most precious natural supplies?
  • What are the effects on the various species of fish?
  • Why are Americans losing their share of fish?
  • Is Catch Share supporting or exploiting the U.S. government’s desire of sustainable fishing?
  • How has the fishing of pollock, grouper, red snapper changed?
  • Why have grouper rescue missions consistently failed since 1992?
  • Why is the U.S. government is giving away public resources to private entities?
  • How are St. George and St. Paul in Alaska being left behind?

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