Paul Greenberg begins his book by setting the scene, 1978, in Greenwich, Connecticut. He describes the winter of ‘78 as having “a fierce blizzard, temperatures were often below zero and at one point it snowed for thirty-three hours straight.” It was a rough winter for the pond near the cottage his mother would rent. The pond is Greenberg’s “rightful hunting ground” therefore the fish were also his. He predicts it was the winter conditions that killed the fish or the copper sulfate from a few years back. Greenberg would eventually obtain enough money to buy a boat and would find a river downstream of his pond that led into the sea. On this boat he would begin to learn to navigate without a GPS, find fish, and what fish would come in during certain seasons associated with the blooming flowers. In his early thirties, he was back on the East Coast after years of traveling abroad. Greenberg decided to get back to his roots and go fishing again. He was surprised to hear that the fish he was used to seeing in that area and according to the blooming flowers were not as he had remembered. After talking to many fishermen along the coast he came to the conclusion that fish had been decreasing in returning numbers, decreasing in size, and a decrease in time to fish. That would be the beginning of his journey to learn about fisheries.
As for myself, I learned about a position that had opened in ADF&G and I took it, mainly because I needed a job, not knowing I would be completely obsessed with the commercial salmon fisheries of area M after a few months. I’ve been lucky enough to experience some aerial surveys and some weir work. I didn’t believe it when people said “if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life” until I started working for fish and game. The lifestyle of the job has really impacted my life and not just by making me change my major to fisheries.
Based on the first few pages I would say Greenberg would answer our previous question by rating the global fish stocks at a 6. It’s definitely not what it used to be but not quite disastrous? I think he’ll end the book more pessimistic as there are so many more issues impacting the ocean and freshwater systems then there were before.