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The Doryman's Reflection: A Fisherman's Life Paperback – April 5, 2006

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Former deep-sea fisherman Molyneaux opens a window onto the harsh and fast--disappearing industry in which he worked for 20 years. From his first job packing scallops in Cape May, New Jersey, Molyneaux travels between California and Alaska, finally ending up in Maine, where he works on the scallop boat built by Bernard Raynes, whose family had fished there and off Nova Scotia since the 1640s. Bernard's family history is a microcosm of the history of ocean fishing in this country, and the author imbues it with his own obvious love for this way of life. Bernard's recollections reveal how technological improvements and political moves, like the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, which eliminated competition from foreign boats, led first to the "boom years" of the late 1970s, then to the gradual depletion of fish, one species after another. Now the industry is relying more and more on farmed fish, or "aquaculture," a sad time for those like Bernard, who wanted nothing more than to make their living from the sea. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Molyneaux began working in commercial fishing as a "lumper," unloading scallop boats, in 1976. He now writes about fisheries and marine issues for THE NEW YORK TIMES, YANKEE MAGAZINE, and NATIONAL FISHERMAN. He and his family split their time between Mexico and Maine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 2nd edition (April 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258445
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,718,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By maureen on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Paul's a friend and some of this is familiar through conversations we've had and times we've lived through. We haven't seen each other for several years and just recently reconnected via email. As soon as I could I bought the book and have been reading it-it's like we are still talking and I've emailed him my first response;

"It's like having a conversation with you-it's cool and spooky-the book is beautifully written-of course. The description of you and Bernard pulling up the fish with the seawater streaming over white knuckles was superb of course, of course.

The dark water-all of it. I can't separate it from you and the line about living another man's memories you spoke to me and reading the book I'm living them too.

Maureen"

Paul's style is so accessible and everyone in Maine should read this book. We all have a brother or uncle or cousin or sister or mother or grandparent that is just like one of the Raynes or like Paul or one of his boatmates. Everyone not in Maine will see human truth in the story as well. The last chapter Poets and Warriors is immediately recongizable to me-that was the period when we were warriors and poets watching this world we knew culminate and turn into something else.

This book is important from an ecological standpoint-it reaffirms the human connection to our environment. There are generations of farmers who've lost the land and builders who've lost their craft-everything seems to erode, if we let it. Paul reminds us that the vast ocean has been depleted by our policies and inattention and lack of care for the human connections we have to our world.

Buy it-read it-my friend has a voice that should be heard.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By old dog on August 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
More than just a fishing book, Molyneaux took me above and below the waves and into the halls of government where polcies were set that targeted people like the book's main character, Bernard Raynes. Molyneaux gives an intimate portrayal of the Bernard, whose English and Acadian French ancestors fished the Gulf of Maine since the 1600s, and depicts how that rich heritage has enabled Raynes to survive in the face of an antognistic political climate and resource scarcity. The book is beautifully written and contains lessons that go way beyond fishing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Downeast circles, Paul Molyneaux is arguably the most respected non-scientific writer covering the world of commercial fishing, which he knows as both a participant and an observer. 'Doryman's Reflection' is part-memoir, part history of the industry, and part analysis of the regulatory approach. Starting from his days as a 'lumper,' shucking scallops on a New Jersey dock, Molyneaux fishes from Alaska to the Gulf of Maine, and takes the reader by the hand through the whole process.

The future is not a pretty one, according to Molyneaux. In the late eighteenth century economist Thomas Malthus predicted that the earth's population would surpass global food supplies. Malthus failed to predict the onset of the Industrial Revolution, which proved him wrong - at least so far. Advances in agriculture, through the application of technology, now provide food for the world while using much less land and even less manpower. The same advances have mechanized the taking of fish, but have not had a similar effect on the ability of fish-stocks to regenerate. In fact, climate change now threatens over-stressed undersea populations even further, creating a destructive 'perfect storm.'

Is 'fish farming' the answer to this paradox? Molyneaux warns of some of the consequences, while also observing that there are many unknowns and that new developments also bring new hazards. One thing is certain, he observes: The costs involved in fish-farming preclude the possibility that this method can be used to 'feed the world,' pricing the product well beyond the reach of most of the globe. Malthus would approve of the result: only wealthy nations will be able to consume the products of the sea, with developing nations consigned to the scanty remnants.
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Format: Hardcover
Molyneaux is a beautiful writer, and tells his story so honestly that it is a prize in my collection of books about commercial fishing. As a former commercial fisherman on the west coast, my eyes were opened to the similarity in the east coast struggles to hold onto a way of life.The fishermen themselves did not understand what they were doing to the fish stocks, and then the government(s) in the name of improving the situation, gave what was left to the corporations, are rapidly wiping out the small-scale fishermen, and the environmentalists, in their urgency to save fish, did not recognize that fishermen too are a species worth saving. That seems to be changing, that is fishermen and environmentalists are beginning to see their common interest. His next book, about aquaculture is great too.
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