By Bruce H. Franklin
During this tremendous portrait of the oceans' not going hero, H. Bruce Franklin indicates how menhaden have formed America's national-and natural-history, and why reckless overfishing now threatens their position in either. considering local americans begun utilizing menhaden as fertilizer, this striking fish has greased the wheels of U.S. agriculture and undefined. by means of the mid-1870s, menhaden had changed whales as a valuable resource of commercial lubricant, with 1000's of ships and dozens of factories alongside the japanese seaboard operating feverishly to provide fish oil. because the Civil warfare, menhaden have supplied the biggest trap of any American fishery.
Today, one company—Omega Protein—has a monopoly at the menhaden “reduction industry.” each year it sweeps billions of fish from the ocean, grinds them up, and turns them into animal feed, fertilizer, and oil utilized in every thing from linoleum to health-food supplements.
The immense harvest wouldn’t be one of these challenge if menhaden have been in simple terms stable for making lipstick and cleaning soap. yet they're an important to the vitamin of larger fish they usually clear out the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, enjoying a vital twin position in marine ecology possibly unrivaled anyplace on the earth. As their numbers have plummeted, fish and birds depending on them were decimated and poisonous algae have began to choke our bays and seas. In Franklin’s brilliant prose, the decline of a as soon as ubiquitous fish turns into an experience tale, an exploration of the U.S. political economic system, a groundbreaking heritage of America’s rising ecological cognizance, and an inspiring imaginative and prescient of a starting to be alliance among environmentalists and leisure anglers.