FTT Due NOvember 9

Billion Dollar Fish is full of colorful characters. In a post of at least 250 words, tell the class who your favoriate character is from your reading of Billion Dollar Fish and why? What makes them your favorite and be sure to tell us how they fit into the story of Alaska Pollock. Share with us by 11:59 PM on November 9. By 11:59 by on November 10, please comment on at least two posts by your peers.

41 thoughts on “FTT Due NOvember 9”

  1. My favorite character of the book so far is Kjell Inge Rokke. His childhood was unorthadox as he had a learning disability at a young age. Through his childhood, Mr. Rokke had not proven to his teachers and parents he was headed in the right direction, His mother pushed him out of the house at seventeen and he had to either sink or swim. What he did was went straight to the fishing on a trawler deep sea fishing boat named the F/T Svalbard out of Norway. Through hard work and determination, he landed one job after the other. Before long he had worked his way over to America and fished the Bering Sea for Pollock. We know from our experience seeing how the Bering Sea has some of the most treacherous waters in North American waters. Spending the 70’s and 80’s capitalizing on the market, they invested in crabbing boats and converted them to Pollock. Gaining a lot of support at the time because it was helping fight the surge and dominant foot hold the Japanese were gaining in the fishery as it is. I found Mr. Rokke’s first hand account of coming up by a series of progressively harder fisheries with bigger pay outs, investing in used gear and renovating it are motivational to read and is truly a rags to riches vibe that makes him a character I have come to admire in the story.

    1. He is definitely a memorable character! There’s it many people who are thrown to the wolves who come out with an entire fishing empire to show for it. It’s a very admirable story, even if I find him personally irritating.

  2. Dr. Jim Ianelli was one of my favorite characters in Billion Dollar fish! Although he was not a major player in the book, I felt like he was representative of a good leader in the pollock industry and in life in general. Bailey describes him as thin with a grizzly stubble beard riding an oversized mountain bike, which makes him sound pretty unassuming. I think this is important to note because unlike Ingel Rokke who was described like a Viking, he isn’t described as being physically impressive. Yet he has done some impressive things. Dr. Ianelli delivered sail boats from Florida to Europe, got his PhD from the University of Washington, and brags of having the record for tagging the most Tuna. Even more impressive to me is the confidence he is able to exude in his own decision making. This is indicative of being someone that people will trust and be willing to follow. Especially people who themselves are consistently making life and death decisions like fisherman, which Bailey points out. Dr. Ianelli reminds me of leaders I have followed because although they may have seemed unimpressive were able to be so confident in their decisions, I was willing to trust them wholeheartedly. Dr. Ianelli had the seemingly impossible job of recommending the quotas for pollock based of his stock assessment. Dr. Ianelli knows that there is a chance his models and assessments could be incorrect, yet he makes his decisions and confidently stands by them. In 2011 Dr. Ianelli increases the catch quota by 50% under scrutiny from both environmental groups as well as the skippers in the fishing industry. Yet, Dr. Ianelli confidently sticks to his convictions. As history shows us Dr. Ianelli’s prediction wasn’t entirely accurate, but his character and story exemplify how important leadership is in the pollock industry and fisheries in general. Reading Billion Dollar Fish and Four Fish has taught me that fisheries are just as much about people as it is fish. The small bit of Bailey’s book that was about Dr. Ianelli really struck me as demonstrating how important strong leadership is and how different groups of people respond to different types of leadership.

      1. I think so. He went into quite a bit of detail about him and then commented on how the qualities he described impacted his leadership ability in regards to the fishing industry. If anything, I think he was someone that illustrated to Bailey how the human dynamic between fisherman and managers can look.

    1. These are great points Bryce. Strong character, morale depth, and maintaining his convictions make him a great choice for note worthy characters. Also interestingly put was how his traits make him a great candidate to be a leader. Great read.

    2. Hey Bryce,
      I agree, this character is definitely deserving of a favorite character spot. He resembles a strong leader in the fisheries industry and shows how management can be handles in the business. This character has some great attributes that make him well suited for a leadership position.

    3. I really like when fairly minor characters in a story can have significant and lasting impacts on the narrator and/or the reader. It seems we picked different characters for similar reasons.

    4. Really great reflection of this character, i really like what you said with the last bit, of how different people respond to leadership, it really pulls out what kind of character they really are!

    5. I really like the point you made about him being unimposing, but very brilliant. That sort of personality is always very interesting, I find. You’ve done a great job detailing Dr. Ilanelli’s accomplishments, the way you write about him shows the impact he’s had on you in your reading of Billion Dollar Fish, and that adds even more so to the credibility of your word. Overall, great post!

  3. To be honest I think the guy who was with Bailey on the japanese boat left an impact on me. They talked in a way that was very friendly at first, but when bailey was reporting the data of the catch the other guy thought he was writing something bad about the fleet. So everyone was turned against bailey because everyone thought he was going to rat them out about how much catch is being caught. But no Bailey was just reporting the catch numbers in general and he was not going to turn his report into a negative writing.

    1. I agree. His character does stand out as one to remember. It took courage to stand up for what he was doing. The integrity of the study counted on the accurate data. After putting them in precarious situation on the boat, he decided he would quit. Hard luck for his partner and not a good look for the gentlemen indeed.

    2. Hey Killie, agree this is a pretty memorable moment. I found it humorous in a way as they thought he was trying to get them into trouble but in reality he was just looking at the numbers for his report.

    3. I really enjoyed this portion of the book as well. I was blown away by how naive Bailey and his friend were in their approach to the situation, I think they are lucky they didn’t get tossed right over the side of the boat. I guess some wisdom comes with age and experience. It certainly was an impactful part of the book!

    4. The entire intro was memorable, and in my opinion was the most engaging section of the book. Pretty much every character and event felt significant.

    5. He was definitely a character that had an impact on Bailey. They were on the boat to report data but wen he noticed that the data was inaccurate to what was actually there he took a ground and tried to confront the captain and crew if the Japanese ship, and in this put both him self and Bailey at a risk. But how Bailey looked back on the experience he realized the crew respond the way they did because, they where probably just doing what they were told.

  4. I enjoyed the beginning of the book with Mr. Bailey’s interaction with the Japanese fishermen on boats. It gave a solid introduction to the book as well as a solid insight into the issues within the fishing industry and how people can behave when their livelihood is at risk. Even without the context, it was just a funny story in its own right. Imagine having to explain to your boss why you got a massage on the company dime! I would die!

  5. A character in “Billion Dollar Fish” that has stood out to me the most so far and that I appreciate the most is Kjell Inge Rokke. He struggled as he was growing up as he had a learning disability that made it very challenging for him to do well in school and his mother kick him out of their home while he was just a teen. From then, he immediately began working on a deep sea fishing boat out of Norways to obtain a source of income. He continued to work hard and demonstrated drive to keep doing better in better by getting new jobs and eventually finding himself in the pollock fishing industry out in the Bering Sea. Kjell Inge Rokke was also very smart with is investments and became successful doing so. He would invest in crab boats and convert them into pollock fishing boats as well as invest in older fishing gear which he would fix up to become better all while saving a dime here and there. I like this character as he is quite motivational as he started from the bottom and managed to work his way up the fisheries business through hard work and being smarter with his spendings.

  6. My favorite character was the ship’s doctor in the prologue. While he wasn’t a major character by any means, he did a very good job of setting the tone for the book. His questionable credentials, his unusual fixation on everybody’s appendix, the narrator’s struggle to communicate effectively with him, the drugs he prescribed for his constipation and so on really helped describe the mood onboard the ship. His presence really sold how informal things could be. If it worked, it worked, even if it makes you uncomfortable. While he wasn’t directly involved with the harvest of pollock, he was necessary for the trip, showing how intense the process could be. Fishing for pollock wasn’t as simple as getting on your boat and going out for the day, back in time for dinner. It was an extended, grueling journey if you weren’t prepared. His presence and the implications it provided really helped contextualize the process of pollock fishing to me right from the beginning, which is why he was my favorite character.

    1. I think the doctor is a great pick for favorite character. He was so minor a character I didn’t even realize how big of a role he played in setting the tone of the book and describing how different life on the sea is to that on land. The informality of the doctor, one of the most important people on the ship, made the sudden hostility of the crew towards Bailey seem all the more dangerous and the threat of harm all the more real. Great points!

  7. My most memorable character so far is Kaare Ness because of how Kevin Bailey describes him as a guy who fishes to fish. Ness does not think about how much money the fish he catches brings in; he just wants to one up the other guys. The anglers that fish because they love the act, really is rare. I feel like a lot of anglers both fish for the actual money instead of because they like it. A lot of people I know, too, also fish just to show off what they caught, instead of how much it brought in. Kaare Ness fits into the story about Alaska Pollock because him and two friends, Chuck Bundrant, and Mike Jacobson, founded Trident Seafoods in 1973. Nowadays, Trident Seafoods is the largest fishing company in the United States and operates forty ships and over four thousand employees.

    1. Charli, I also liked the discussion of Ness and Bundrant and Jacobson, mostly because they tied into Trident, which is one of the canneries in Cordova, where I previously lived. It makes it a lot easier when the author is talking about things that are relatable, and I have heard of, and it makes it easier to follow.

  8. I think that my favorite character so far in this book would have to be Dave Stanchfeild. When reading chapter four, the way he was described and how he acted really stuck with me. He was originally a crab fisherman, but moved to pollock trawling when crab stocks began to decline. He then became a joint venture for delivering pollock to the Koreans. Quite similarly to the begging of the book when the one researcher with Bailey on the Japanese boat, thought that they were tampering with the catch data, Stanchfeild thought the the Korean processers of the pollock were shot charging him, and proceeded to “pay them a visit”
    I guess i really liked how this character took charge of his present when he thought that something wrong was happening and took a stance with that, rather than sit back an watch it happen.

  9. My favorite character so far is Dave Stanchfield. The first reason he jumped out at me was that he was the owner of a boat called the Morning Star, which is the name of a boat in Cordova (the town I lived in). The author described him in a super interesting way, saying that he had “volcanic eyes” and a flaming-red beard: definitely someone that is memorable. Dave was described as one of the pioneers of the West Coast groundfish industry, a fishery that attracted bold people who were taking a risk both economically and physically. The author used this as a sort of launching pad for talking about the pollock industry when the era of crabbing was on the decline.

    I wish that I could say that I understood more about Dave’s character, and there are undoubtedly things that I missed throughout the chapter (despite rereading a number of times). From what I gathered about him, however, he was strong-willed and had a desire for adventure and getting what he wanted. I really admire that kind of person and wish I could have less fear and more risk-taking characteristics like Dave. Dave decided to pay the Korean processors a visit to speak his mind about “shot-charging” him, something that is definitely admirable and something that a lot of people were not willing to do. After skimming my classmate’s posts, I actually haven’t seen anyone else write about him so that either means he wasn’t as memorable as a character as I thought he was, or that we weren’t supposed to read this far in the book…regardless, I like Dave and wish I could have learned more about him and his contribution to the fisheries.

    1. Hi, Maya!
      I’m glad that you mentioned Dave! I also wanted to talk about him.
      I do find him a really interesting person as well. He seems to be a bold, and rather unhinged man who is willing to go as far as grab a trawl and ride it through the sea just to talk to the Koreans about his disagreements. I mean, what a guy.
      The fact that his appearance makes him stand out even more is just the icing on the cake.

  10. I have a hard time choosing a character from the book. Something I’ve noticed and I particularly enjoy from Billion Dollar Fish thus far is the way Bailey takes the time to talk a little bit about the personalities and oddities of the people he mentions, something that I have not really seen before in other books. I believe it reminds the audience that these people are individuals with their own passions, goals, and beliefs, and that being a scientist won’t stop some of them from fighting tooth and nail to defend their stances. One I found particularly interesting was Hugo Grotius, from the Netherlands. I find it fascinating that he managed to get a PhD by the age of 15, and he published a book by his 16, and in Latin, no less. There really wasn’t a reason for him to publish a book in a “dead” tongue, but the man did it anyway just to show off his extensive knowledge, so I guess at the end he was still a teenager. Moreover, he became the father of “The Law of the Sea”, arguing that the sea was a no-man’s-land, free for any country to exploit and explore; concept that every single country would later use when it proved convenient. His personal life is also pretty interesting, being arrested for religious arguments, then escaping and becoming an ambassador in another country. Although it must’ve been an awful experience, there is something ironic in that he died in a shipwreck. Also, another character that I particularly liked was the Japanese doctor; the wackiest character in the whole book by far. His golden tooth, his dubious practices, his fixation on removing appendixes, and the unknown circumstances that lead him to a fishing ship in the middle of nowhere, it all almost feels like something out of fiction. I find it rather fitting that he appears at the beginning of the book, in my opinion.

    1. When I think of the people in the fishing industry that I’m friends with or know of, they’re all super colorful people. I appreciate Bailey highlighting this fact in book with each of the people he talks about.

    2. Cesar, I really like what you mentioned about the author’s writing style; how they take their time to develop personalities for the characters. It makes it easier for me to follow who the characters are, instead of just hearing the names.

    3. I also really enjoyed that Bailey took the time to go into depth on each of the characters he introduces personality. I thought it was a good way to teach the human element of the pollock fishery. It also made the story much more interesting to me. The interaction between Bailey and the Japanese doctor sounded pretty stressful, but it was very entertaining.

  11. As I read the chapters, I can’t say that I have a favorite character. Each new interaction presents a new set of meaningful relationships with the story. Now whenever I interact with fish, I keep asking myself what else might be in it, especially when I eat tuna. Despite the way the pollock fish are different than tuna, you can find analogies in your day-to-day life when dealing with any type of fish you might eat.

  12. Throughout this week’s reading, I got the sense that if you want to be successful and to learn a lot in your life you need to try different things. Kjell Røkke owned multiple companies but he knew when to sell before they crashed. He took the money as well as what he learned to start another bigger and better company. I think that people start a business and hold on too long then have no money/ resources to move on with their life. Another person who shifted his think was Leo Szilard (I think that Bailey should have said he was in his swimsuit from the start but ok…) shifted his thinking from physics to biology, I guess if every time you bathe you think about work it doesn’t take a lot of time to fully understand another area of study.

  13. While “Billion Dollar Fish” seems to already be pretty full of characters, the first one that comes to mind is Kjell Inge Rokke. He struggled with a learning disability as a kid in Norway and was kicked out of his parents house at 17. He immediately started fishing on a trawler and eventually landed a job fishing in the Bering Sea for pollock. As he maneuvered the fishing industry, he made smart choices and would fix up old gear to use, which saved him a lot of money in the long run. If fishing’s one thing, it ain’t cheap. He would convert old crabbing boats into pollock fishing boats and capitalized on that. It really paid off for him and he was able to climb the ladder in the fishing world and now if you look him up, he is one of Norway’s top billionaires. In 2018, Kjell was pretty much the richest person in Norway.
    I admire the tenacity and determination to continue to work hard while hard things are going on. Being smart fiscally and being an incredibly experienced fishermen really help too.

  14. Two characters in Billion Dollar Fish that have stood out to me the most so far are Paul, who worked with Bailey on the Japanese fishing boat at the beginning of the book, and John Sjong, the Norwegian-American fisherman.

    You can tell that Paul had a lot of passion and really believed in the importance of his work as an observer aboard the foreign vessel. It doesn’t seem like he realized the kind of danger he would put himself in by confronting the ship’s captain so blatantly so it is not necessarily courage that Paul displayed by his actions, but rather I think that his dedication to reporting accurate catch records show his dedication to his work and to the fish themselves. It was a scary and reckless thing to do, but admirable nontheless.

    John Sjong intrigued me as a character right away, because he gives the impression of a well-weathered ship captain even when retired and landlocked. The way that Bailey describes his mannerisms, the way he has decorated his space to mimic the feel of a ship’s wheelhouse, really gives the impression that fishing and a life at sea is in his blood. Bailey’s comparison of Norwegian fishermen to modern-day Vikings seems very appropriate in the case of Sjong, and he seems like he would be a good man to meet.

    1. Hi, Felicia!
      I do wonder what happened to Paul afterwards. He probably wouldn’t have done what he did if he had known the implications, but it is admirable that he was passionate enough to point it out, right there and then. He spoke out for what mattered to him.
      Also, I think it’s interesting how Bailey thought he would not get along with Sjong after seeing the bumper sticker of his political beliefs, and then he ended up to be completely different from what he’d expected. I get the idea that being in his home is sort of like being in a museum, for a lack of a better word.

    2. Firstly, I commend you for presenting two characters instead of one, I haven’t seen anyone else do as such! Secondly, I really enjoyed reading the blurbs you’ve written out for both men. I especially like the fact that you didn’t account Paul’s actions to heroism, but rather, recklessness that still deserves respect. The wording you used in describing Sjong as someone with “fishing and a life at sea in his blood” was very interesting and fitting, I feel. Great contribution to the discussion overall.

  15. As agreed upon by many of my peers, I have to say that Kjell Inge Røkke is my favorite ‘character’ discussed in the book thus far. It’s true that Kjell may be considered an easy answer, as he is one of the very first people talked about within the book’s introduction, however, my choice goes beyond that accessibility. It’s a widely agreed upon fact that people will root for someone who is considered an “underdog”, and so it’s no surprise to me that I, along with a handful of the other students in this class, took to Kjell as their favorite showcased in this book. His turn around from a high school drop out to a pioneer within the scape of commercial fishing is genuinely fascinating. Personally, it really made that saying of “opportunities come where you least expect them” ring true, in my eyes. The job on the Alaskan trawl that would eventually lead him to the acclaim he holds now is a prime example of this. After reading the introduction a few weeks back, I actually went on to do a bit of personal research on him. Kjell’s journey over his now 63 years of life is nothing short of awe inspiring. I earnestly didn’t know the impact / influence he has in the world of fisheries before reading Billion Dollar Fish and then later expanding upon that within scouring his wikipedia article and other resources. His incessant drive and willpower to continue moving forward and working in the field he feels passionate about is quite inspiring, personally. His story gives hope in terms of what I’ll be able to achieve in my own career aspirations.

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