Sunday, 26 October 2008

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

Why would anyone want to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen? That is the question that pesters Dr Alfred Jones, a government fisheries scientist, when he is asked to oversee a project, bankrolled by a wealthy Yemeni, to do just that. The climate, landscape and ecology of the area are all wrong for salmon. British salmon fishers and scientists are rightly reluctant to let their fish be taken away to stock rivers that can't support the fish. The required fish are eventually taken from a fish farm, oh the sadness of the conditions in the fish farm, where the wild fish are imprisoned and enfeebled.

This is a clever and entertaining satire of government, exposing the cover ups, the hubris, neo-colonialism and the lack of cultural understanding, the total lack of understanding of ecological principles, the way that policy can be dictated by wealthy individuals, etc. It's entertaining as I say but it's also very sobering, particularly when I've heard from people who work in governmental agencies that things really do work like this....

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday, published by Phoenix, 2007.

7 comments:

Lucy said...

I once heard it said that salmon fishing was a bit like keeping a swallow in a cage. And often it tastes insipid and fatty too.

Sounds an interesting read...

lettuce said...

hello - nice to be in contact with you again.

the thing is, this sounds believable. Thats one of the most extraordinary indicators i think of the state the world is in- that what should be unbelievable is no longer.
It certainly sounds interesting

kouji haiku said...

indeed. it's strange how individuals, entities and governments can put their sometimes considerable weight behind what appear to be rather not very well thought out projects.

Jarrett said...

An excellent review, leaving just enough to my imagination that I actually feel I need to read the book now.

Australia, of course, was founded by the mentality you describe, and it's still not hard to find it here.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Well, there weas success in introducing salmon into the Great Lakes and they are doing nicely and there is quite a fishery there now.

On the other hand, even the great salmon rivers of the West Coast of USA no longer support significant salmon runs at all.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Several years ago, George Plimpton wrote a story in Sports Illustrated called "The Curious Case of Sid Finch". Even though it was published on April 1, it was widely believed and took some time for everyone to understand it was all made up!

or War of the Worlds or The Sawing off of Manahatten Island which brought many unemployed men to a spot in Manhatten to find ... nothing!!!

Mistlethrush said...

Sounds like in intriguing novel.