Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

February 19, 2011

Dog Eats Four Fish

Bodie. Guilty as charged.

This is not what you may think. My (our) dog did not actually eat four fishes. He ate the book, 'Four Fish' by Paul Greenberg. I did not kill the dog. But boy was I mad! OK, OK, he's a dog, a Labrador, and he got bored, and I left the book on the counter. He is well known to counter-cruise for any interesting item left on the counter. I should have known better. But, lordy! 'Four Fish'??!!

I should be happy, I suppose, that he ate the book instead of his other option: fly-tying materials and a box of wet and dry flies. I'd also left these on the counter... next to the book. So I should be relieved, perhaps, that he ate a book instead of hooks. I can hear it now, "I mistook it for a branch! It is a branch, kind of... in another form, maybe... Please don't be mad, Mommy!" But I'm still a little mad.

See, I was taking particularly good care of this book. Normally, books go all over with me and suffer the fate of being in hot tubs, on beaches, in boats, and wind up shredded if they survive at all. Also, I'm a very, very slow reader. I started reading this amazing book some four-five months ago. It's thoroughly researched and well-written, but I need my whole brain to absorb all of the information. The topics are complicated, interwoven, and acutely important: fisheries are collapsing. 'Four Fish' explains some of the complex reasons why.

I'd just finished the 'Sea Bass' chapters and had started 'Cod', which put me approximately one-half of my way through 'Four Fish.' This passage stood out:

" catching all the big cod, fishermen have in a sense selected for small cod. The genes for small cod may now be more frequent in the overall genome than they were before fishing pressure was applied. Even if cod on the Grand Banks were left alone, it might take decades for the population to recover its previous genetic potential and reclaim the average size required for dominance."

WOW! What a simple yet powerful and insightful rationale. Perhaps by ingesting some of this book my dog will aquire some higher intellegence and choose his marks more carefully? Just kidding. The dog is dumber than a post and happier for it. I won't stay mad long.

Read this book. It will be worth your time if you can keep it safe :)

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