Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday, Nov. 13: "Menhaden and America" at the Cheng Library with H. Bruce Franklin - Not Just Another Fish Story!

On Thursday, November 13, at 3:30 pm, the David and Lorraine Cheng Library will present a special program on the big consequences of a small fish.

H. Bruce Franklin, John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark, will be joining us to discuss his recent book, "The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America." Franklin’s book focuses on menhaden, a small, oily, and bony fish that plays a major role in the marine ecosystem on the east coast of the United States. Virtually unknown to those outside commercial fishing or marine biology, menhaden have played a critical role in America’s national - and natural - history, but reckless overfishing now threatens their survival. Commercially harvested for animal feed, fertilizer, and oil used in everything from linoleum to health-food supplements, menhaden are also crucial to the diet of most food and game fish, as well as many marine mammals and birds. They also filter the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, playing an essential dual role in marine ecology perhaps unmatched anywhere on the planet.

As menhaden’s numbers have plummeted, fish and birds dependent on them have been decimated and toxic algae have begun to choke American bays and seas. Two bills currently before Congress, H.R. 3840 and H.R. 3841, propose to prohibit the further commercial fishing of menhaden for use as industrial commodities.

Franklin's subject stands at the intersection of marine biology, ecology, corporate decision making, politics, public policy, history and culture. Students and faculty in all disciplines will benefit a great deal from this program.

The program will be followed by a reception at 5:00 pm in the Library's Friends Lounge and light refreshments will be served. This program is supported by a generous grant from the William Paterson University Alumni Association.

Everyone is welcome, so please join us at the Library on November 13.

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