Although as an angler I may spend a hundred days a year on the water, I kill very few fish. I don’t much like eating them, and have never done so since those stinking prep school kippers of yesteryear. But, like many other sportsmen, I love fish for their other qualities – their vitality, elegance, and often glorious habitats – and it seems to me that the world’s wild places are seriously diminished when piscine populations decline.
American journalist and novelist Paul Greenberg is also a lifelong angler, and he kicks off his highly readable new book with a boyhood memory of exploring the watery abundance of his native Connecticut. On his travels since, he has noticed that four main types of fish dominate the markets – salmon, bass, cod and tuna – and he traces the history of each of these to suggest how, in the face of threatened natural resources, we can find ‘an equitable and long-lasting peace between man and fish’.