WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- From helping save the pilgrims, to its role in the growth of industrialized fishing, to the environmental battle that continues to be fought today over its survival, menhaden sits at the center of many of America's historical and environmental milestones, yet it is almost a completely unknown fish. "The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America" (Island Press), is the story of a fish that is being decimated unnecessarily by one corporation, Omega Protein, as each year the company turns billions of menhaden into industrial commodities such as chicken feed, linoleum, pesticides, and cat food. Renowned cultural historian H. Bruce Franklin tells this remarkable tale of survival, science, greed, and politics. As numerous individuals and groups work to restore the health of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal waters for clean water, abundant fish and ultimately a better quality of life, public knowledge of menhaden's life and history becomes critical. Most Americans don't realize how menhaden have affected our American history, culture and environment. Menhaden: -- Made large-scale agriculture viable in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century; -- Became the nation's largest catch and continues to be the principal fish caught along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, exceeding the tonnage of all other species combined; -- Are crucial to the diet of our most valued saltwater food and game fish, -- Help clean and filter the waters along the East Coast preventing algal blooms. As Franklin explores the menhaden's history in "The Most Important Fish in the Sea," he exposes the controversy that has surrounded menhaden since the end of the Civil War. The crisis is now reaching a critical point as Omega Protein insists on its right to kill as many menhaden as it pleases, while millions of environmentalists, recreational anglers, and commercial fisherman work together to stop this unnecessary and dangerous destruction of the environment. Island Press is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that publishes books for scientists, policy makers, environmental practitioners, students, journalists, and the general public. Island Press uses a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed approach that brings practical solutions to complex challenges like climate change, the depletion of our oceans, sustainable energy and agriculture, and species extinction.
SOURCE Island Press