The book's prologue is an account of a fishing trip with fisherman from Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. At the time of writing Petty Harbour was one of the only legal fisheries on the Newfoundland coast The men speak about the cod with respect, you get a real sense that they care about the fish, but also with sadness and frustration at the decline of cod stocks. The men found extra work by carrying out monitoring surveys of the cod population for researchers. I have used this prologue with A Level students when teaching about sustainability. The book is extremely well written and turns what could be a dry subject (excuse the pun) into a thoroughly engaging story.
Our relationship with fish is a funny one. As a nation we only really eat 3 or 4 species, which is madness when you consider the wealth of our fishing resources. Hugh's fish fight was a successful campaign to end the practice of 'discards', a symptom of our appetite for a limited number of species and the quota system forced upon fisherman by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Perfectly healthy fish were being thrown back into the sea, dead, because the fisherman had already caught their fill of that species, or the species wasn't marketable. Footage of this happening is one of the few things that has ever . The fish fight campaign called for an end to discards and increased awareness of other species. In May this year key reforms to the CFP were announced http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22717796.
All in all things are looking up for fish.