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: In a memoir that recounts thirty summers of fishing Alaskaâs Cook Inlet, Bert Bender describes his parallel careers as a commercial gill-netter and a professor of American literature. His narrative celebrates the fishing life as he knew it; it also explores issues of sustainability in the commercial salmon fishery.Bender started fishing in 1963 with a thirty-foot sailboat converted to gas power; it had a 45-horsepower engine but no equipment for pulling in the net. Over the next decades, the fishery shifted as canneries adapted to new world markets for frozen salmon and fishermen built larger and more powerful boats. Following the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989 and the subsequent rise of the farmed salmon industry, the Cook Inlet fishery experienced a decline. Bender traces this path of change, drawing on his academic specialties, American sea literature and the influence of evolutionary biology and ecology in American writing.The only book on Cook Inletâs drift fishery, Catching the Ebb will appeal to readers interested in the sea or in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to its stories of people, boats, and the fishing life, the memoir addresses a question Bender posed in Sea-Brothers, a history of American sea fiction: Can we restrain our heedless pollution of the sea and avoid depleting ocean resources?