Monday, August 26, 2013
22. Dale of the Mounted Sub Hunt by Joe Holliday
In both cases, Dale goes undercover. In the first, he joins up with a fishing crew. This section was actually not so boring, as it described the fish-trapping techniques used in the Bay of Fundy. Wide nets would be installed in the ground at low tide and then when the tide came up and went out again, the men would unload the traps with all the fish stuck in them. The mystery starts here when a body is discovered in one of the traps. Actually, looking back, this was a pretty cool start. From there, though, it all gets kind of boring, at least narrative-wise. The problem is the writing style, so that even when we get away from factual info and statistics about the Atlantic Fisheries, it is all still dull and stilted.
In the second half, Dale takes on the disguise of a young applicant for the Fisheries department in their research center at the West Coast Biological Center in Departure Bay. Here, we have lots of optimistic enthusiasm about all the science being applied to the fishing industry and how it is going to make it even easier for Canada to deplete the oceans.
What is fascinating, and depressing, about this book, is how there is not a single mention of conservation. Everything that the government is doing in the Atlantic and the Pacific side, is made to increase yield. There is an oblique mention of ensuring the future existence of fish populations when they mention poaching and efforts to reduce it. This book was written just a few decades before the total collapse of the entire Atlantic Fisheries and you can see the profound ignorance and greed that was the dominant culture of the government and the industry at the time. Not that it's changed much today, sadly.
I scanned the back cover as well, which has examples of the entire line. It's a shame that these weren't better written, because they are quite beautifully designed and would make a great collection of Canadiana for a bookshelf.