Acclaimed journalist and ecologist Dr. Anders Halverson will present on Thursday, January 20th at 7 PM at the Nature Learning Center in Albany as part of Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s continuing Nature Authors Series. Halverson’s new book, An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World, is the winner of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Award, and it is a fascinating glimpse at the social and political underpinnings of the late nineteenth century through the present that shaped stocking policies in the U.S.
While it is true that the book is about a fish species, the story that Anders tells is a historical look at natural resource management in general and the issues facing society that shaped management strategies. A more sanctimonious writer could find much to criticize about the stocking of rainbow trout over the past 130 years; however, the book treats past efforts objectively and acknowledges that blunders were made with only best of intentions. And blunders there were as efforts to propagate rainbow trout in essentially all of the U.S. and much of the world dramatically change aquatic ecosystems and the fish itself.
Stocking of fish was seen as an answer to feeding the country, optimizing the productivity of all water bodies, and to increasing the hardiness of the Americans, who in the late 1800s we seen to possess “notoriously less hardihood and endurance than the generation which preceded