Memphis Reads – Hooked by G. Bruce Knect

Hooked book coverMarilyn reviews HOOKED: PIRATES, POACHING, AND THE PERFECT FISH by G. Bruce Knecht

A captivating tale of the creative marketing of a fish, the overfishing of the animal, and a dramatic chase on the Antarctic high seas is Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish by G. Bruce Knecht.

Knect uses flashbacks to describe the first moments of an overseas chase, introducing readers to the Patagonian toothfish–a fish which was previously thought to be inedible. Lee Lantz “discovers” the toothfish, changes the name, and creates a market in North America. Under the skillful marketing of Lantz the Patagonian toothfish, renamed Chilean Bass, is served in major cities of the United States and becomes an endangered species from overfishing. From this opening passage one of the longest chases in Maritime history begins in the Australian waters when the Southern Supporter patrol ship sees an unmarked fishing vessel in the Australian waters.

The book serves as an introduction of the loss of fish species from overfishing because of the world’s appetite for fish. Hooked also is a reminder to me of the fragility of the ocean. When a fish does not meet human needs, mankind hunts for another one and therefore depletes the oceans. I saw this book as a warning.

I especially enjoyed the author’s re-creation of the chase. G. Bruce Knecht did extensive interviews with participants from both sides of the patrol chase. The reader will be caught up in the thrill of the chase and interested to know if toothfish is eaten in Memphis. With a little research I found that Chilean Sea Bass was served in Memphis restaurants from a food critic’s reviews in the Commercial Appeal published in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Even today the toothfish is still an endangered fish.

Hooked is a good exciting read.

Marilyn, Central Library