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Let Them Eat Shrimp: The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforests of the Sea Hardcover – February 23, 2011

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Let Them Eat Shrimp lays bare the hidden consequences of everyday consumption, showing how Americans' eating habits are changing lives around the globe. Warne's narrative has staying power, but the worlds he captures are disappearing in the blink of an eye."
(Wade Davis author of The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River)

"An utterly fascinating book! The destruction of wondrous places doesn't make for a happy story, but in Warne's passionate telling, it's one you won't be able to put down. Instead, you'll come away from this excellent read determined to visit a mangrove forest and to say no thanks to your next plate of farmed shrimp."
(Deborah Madison author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors)

"Kennedy Warne is a 21st century Lorax—he speaks not only for the mangrove trees but also for the disenfranchised, disempowered, and betrayed people who depend on mangrove forests for their lives and their dignity. Let Them Eat Shrimp raises a clarion call to action against those who continue to put profits before people and consumption before reverence."
(Aaron M. Ellison Senior Ecologist and Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University)

"Warne's writing is artistic (shrimp and mangroves are 'like a pair of orbiting stars, though one shines at the expense of the other') and the stories he tells are deeply personal, featuring a good blend of the scary (commercial shrimping will destroy the mangroves!) and the hopeful (but we can prevent it!), the mark of a high-quality conservation treatise."
(Green Life (Sierra Club))

"Based in New Zealand, Warne is a journalist and founding editor of New Zealand Geographic. He offers an extended narrative describing what he learned as he investigated the profound importance of mangrove forests to the ecological balance of the areas near the ocean where they are located, and to the people who depend on that ecosystem. The story involves the impact of shrimp aquaculture and massive coastal development—both of which devastate these 'rainforests of the sea' and disable their mitigation of climate change through carbon storage as well as the protection they give coastlines in the event of tsunamis."
(Reference & Research Book News)

"Rainforests of the land evoke a lot more international concern, and Warne includes in the last chapter of his vivid and pithy book a vignette of a scientist glooming about the undeservedly low public profile of mangroves. Warne's book sets out to remedy this, but it's far from mere lecturing. Warne, founding editor of New Zealand Geographic, visits mangroves around the world and lets what he sees and the people he meets make their own case. The book is a travelog with attitude."
(Science News)

"Telling the stories of people displaced by intensive shrimp farms in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas, Warne provides evocative tales of economic disparities and disruption of local tradition."
(CHOICE)

"If the tragedy of stories of lives and livelihoods ruined by mangrove depletion haven't hit home by this point, the idea of $10,000 being wasted with every hectare of mangrove ripped up and turned into boundless shrimp farms should."
(The Ecologist)

"Kennedy Warne's effort to 'set the record straight' with respect to mangroves comes at a critical time and at an appropriate level to catch the attention of stakeholders, land use planners, and policy makers around the world."
(Journal of Environmental Studies and Science)


"Kennedy Warne tells it straight: mangroves are under threat. In his passionate travelogue, he covers everything from vandal monkeys to life on the shores of the Red Sea, chronicling the global fight to save the rainforests of the sea. Let Them Eat Shrimp is a cocktail worth savoring."
(Raj Patel author of The Value of Nothing)

About the Author

Kennedy Warne is author of Roads Less Travelled and founding editor of New Zealand Geographic. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, GEO, and other publications.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 6 edition (February 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597266833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597266833
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The idea for this book originated as a story for National Geographic Magazine-- the article is a great preview for the book. The slide show is amazing, of course. [...]

Kennedy Warne visits mangroves from Bangladesh to Eritrea to Panama and Brazil. Though the title references shrimp farms, the book is centered on the ecology of mangroves, the cultures they support, threats to their continued existence, and ecosystem services. Culture? Yes--just like the rainforests referenced in the subtitle, mangroves support people who depend on them for shellfish, charcoal, fisheries, and even honey. Their exploitation by small groups of people may be sustainable, but mangroves are vulnerable to coastal development for tourism, timber, and shrimp farms. Warne travels the globe and finds that many governments protect mangroves on paper, but enforcement is lacking and development is often unregulated. It's not all bad news though, there are some encouraging stories of innovative sustainable development and reforestation programs, mangrove restoration and mitigation. None of the policy or science is excruciating or boring, however. It reads more like a travelogue-- I was reminded of Douglas Adams's Last Chance to See, one of my favorite books. Tigers hunt the mangroves in Bangladesh, monkeys in Tanzania use their tails to lure crabs, a humanitarian/cell biologist leads reforestation efforts in Eritrea. It's fascinating stories that are linked by mangroves.

Warne says that he is interested in mangroves because "they're maligned, they're marginalized....Mangroves are underdogs." He champions them well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Martita on July 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This writer is well versed in his topic and wrote in a clear and informative style. If you've been wondering why shrimp have been so underpriced in the stores, this book will show you the hidden costs.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By hans voerman on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book describes extremely clear (for anyone who is interested ) about the negative impact of shrimp farms on mangroves. Besides that it describes in an easy to understand way the way mangroves work.
I work daily in mangroves with tourists , and this is a great book and must read for those with some kind of interest in mangroves.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
61 of 75 for 2015. I may never eat shrimp again. OK That's not true, but having read Kennedy study of the mangrove forests around the world, I have a new appreciation for how our endless shrimp feasts are negatively impacting the climate. Mangrove forests grow around the world in the tropical latitudes. They grow as far north as Florida and as far south as the north island of New Zealand. They can be found on pretty much every continent except Europe and Antarctica, and usually in third world countries were the people who live within the forests or who depend on the forests are barely beyond the hunter-gatherer stage. I knew next to nothing about mangroves before reading Kennedy's work, and now know just a bit more, but enough to know that these relatively unknown and unappreciated parts of the environment are extremely important to our future. Mangroves are incredibly efficient carbon collectors, for example, and if we were to restore the forests we've cut down for shrimp farms, we could possibly reverse the ever growing amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere. Kennedy's book is quite readable, indeed at times seems more like a travelogue than a scientific tome. He takes the reader along to Ecuador, Brazil, Bangladesh, Panama, Tanzania, as well as Florida and other places around the world where humans interact, not always in the best way, with mangrove forests, the forests of the sea. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a must read for anyone interested in climate change and the future of our world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an eye opener.

I thought this was going to be a very dry book. I am glad that it wasn't. This book is not just about the shrimping industry but about the mangroves, and the people who live in the areas. It is a hard look at how the shrimp industry has killed off the mangroves and left people in poverty.

It is about the disgusting things that raising ponds of shrimp does to the land, to the people in the community, to the water tables. It is a look at the joke of "sustainable shrimping" claims being made to keep selling shrimp. It is a look at the nasty food, antibiotics and waste that the shrimp are living in and eating.

I will be leery about purchasing shrimp and will be carefully checking labels from now on! Shrimp is good, but it shouldn't be raised like this. I would prefer to pay more for wild caught shrimp than to poison the environment and the shrimp to get cheaper shrimp.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a rare look at what has only turned into another "Get rich quick at all cost and cause another ecological disaster" paradigm that seems to be so prevalent on our planet these days. It's a sad commentary on our times written with heart and insight. It was a real eye-opener for me, and I appreciated the up-close look at yet another travesty of our ecology perpetrated by money hungry humans and easily bought out government officials. How do some find it so easy to sell out the planet and it's people for fast cash?

I will be watching this issue now and pray that this untold story of the Mangrove's fight for life falls into enough hands to make a difference for this very important piece of our ecology and those who depend on it. I highly recommend this book for nature lovers everywhere!
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