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Free download of the book Dead Fish and Fat Cats

Here is the complete book, Dead Fish and Fat Cats, by Eric Wickham. The author retains all rights but has given us permission to host it here. You are free to download it and print it. You may then decide you want a copy of the paperback version, which is still available at Amazon.

The reason for making this pdf copy available this way: the author's purpose was political. He first wanted to get this story out to the Canadian public. That has been done. The book has sold well since 2003 and the author has been able to make his case on national TV and in many other ways. This pdf will help to continue spreading this behind-the-scenes story to a wider fish-eating planet.

Here's the first part of the book, to give you the taste...


Foreword by David Suzuki
1. How I used to catch salmon
2. Modern ways to catch fish
3. OK, what did happen to the salmon?
4. Salmon-farm fever
5. Museum notes from a fishing village
6. The scholar's plan
7. When the fishermen take over
8. Epilogue

1. How I used to catch salmon

Regard me at 22: tall, with well-developed muscles, and a squarish and honest face that would have seemed right for the hero in an old Western. Not to say lusty and hard-drinking. But I knew about fish, not cattle. I was already a deck hand on my dad's seagoing boat the summer I was a mere eight. Nature had also wired part of my brain for business. But those commercial capacities didn't strike me -- or anyone else -- until much later. They weren't visible in the fishing village where I grew up. At 22, what sort of things did I not know? Not enough about women's minds. But I'm not going to say much about women. This book is about fish.

Here's another thing I didn't know at 22: what was developing in the Canadian fishing industry. In the political depths. Because salmon were easy to catch, I had moved out of the village and had my own boat. If there was any fish problem looming, I didn't detect it.

There were many other things I didn't know. I'll get to them. This is a tale of bouncy optimism, rude setbacks, gradual awakening, increasing prosperity, fishing discoveries, melancholy interludes, and even a shipwreck.

But now consider my first boat -- Joy II. It cost me $7,000, and carried a mortgage of $5,000. I paid a $2,000 deposit from savings I'd earned by crewing on other people's boats. After high school I crewed full time for three years, mainly for my older brother Henry.

My first boat had a mild curse on it. I heard about it from the insurance auditor, who said: "For $7,000 you're buying $10,000 worth of trouble." I ignored him.

Now behold the boat itself. It's 32 feet long (which means it would fit into your living room, if you have a spacious one). There's a cabin, where I can sleep and keep out of the weather. There's a refrigerator for some of my food supplies -- I take food for a week. There's a fibreglass fish-hold, kept cold with crushed ice. That's for the dead salmon.

I navigate by magnetic compass (this was 1964). A depthsounder tells me how deep the bottom is. But it doesn't alert me to schools of fish, the way every normal sonar would a decade later.

I run this boat myself. I do everything. No crew -- anyway, there's no room for them.

Let's go fishing.

Download Dead Fish and Fat Cats