Gulf Wild " the first seafood brand in America to trace each fish from the sea to the table " emerged after grouper, the star of fried fish sandwiches, fell off menus due to overfishing. The brand was born when the government privatized the rights to fish to fix the problem. Through traceability, Gulf Wild has met burgeoning consumer demand for domestic, sustainable seafood, selling in boutique grocers and catapulting grouper from the hamburger bun to the white tablecloth. But the property rights that saved grouper also shifted control of the fish from public to private, forever changing the relationship between wild seafood and the people that eat it. Aboard fishing vessels from Alaska to Maine, inside restaurants of top chefs, and from the halls of Congress, in The Fish Market, journalist Lee van der Voo tells the story of the people and places left behind in this era of ocean privatization" a trend that now controls more than half of American seafood. Following seafood money from U.S. docks to Wall Street, she explains the methods that investors, equity firms, and seafood landlords have used to capture the upside of the sustainable seafood movement, and why many people believe in them. She also goes behind the scenes of the Slow Fish movement" among holdouts against privatization of the sea" to show why they argue consumers don’t have to buy sustainability from Wall Street, or choose between the environment and their fisherman.
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.
Lee van der Voo is an independent journalist based in Portland, Oregon, focused on enterprise and investigative journalism. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, High Country News, The Atlantic.com, Slate, CNN and others. She is Managing Director of InvestigateWest, the Seattle and Portland-based nonprofit journalism studio. Lee is the author of The Fish Market, her research-driven book about sustainable seafood and fishing communities.
"What a great book! Journalist Lee van der Voo investigates the provenance of wild fish and the dismaying gentrification of the high seas, weaving the wonky details of politics and economics with big-hearted portraits of those who work the seas. “The Fish Market” is a fascinating addition to the literature of food."
"Everyone who eats seafood, is interested in the ocean, or just wants to know how our natural resources are divvied up needs to read The Fish Market... Van der Voo deftly weaves the stories of fishermen, fish mongers, and Wall Street with the orchestrated campaigns of the Charles Koch Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and NOAA, and how they paid NGOs, scientists, and celebrity chefs to support their cause. You will never see seafood in the same light again."
"Bold, important, engaging, and intimate, The Fish Market will be especially appealing to readers who connect with environmental problems through personalized accounts."