From Publishers Weekly
In this devastating book, first published in Great Britain and now revised and updated for North American readers, Clover, environment editor of London's Daily Telegraph
, shows that fishing with modern technology has put us just a hairsbreadth away from destroying entire ocean ecosystems. New England's fisheries have collapsed, the fish stocks of West Africa's continental shelf are overexploited, few cod are left in Newfoundland's Grand Banks, and, according to one study, 90% of the large fish in the ocean in 1950 have disappeared. Clover finds many people to blame, including trawlers with huge nets that destroy everything in their wake, incompetent scientists, dishonest governmental agencies, celebrity chefs with endangered species on their menus, and the general public, which pays no attention to how the fish it eats is obtained. He's especially critical of the European Union, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization and countries like Japan and Spain that persist in illegal fishing. Clover's hard-hitting approach will probably anger some, but his argument that we will soon run out of fish unless we take drastic measures—such as establishing huge no-take zones where fish stocks can recover—is persuasive. (Nov.)
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Lyrical and scientific books about the marine-life crisis exist, including works by Carl Safina and Richard Ellis, but to really grab people's attention there's nothing like the dispatches of a good investigative reporter. British environmental journalist Clover covers it all, from destructive high-tech fishing techniques to the regulations meant to protect fish species, the nearly universal practice of hauling in and selling illegal catches, and the snarled politics that hamper ocean conservation efforts. Clover, conversant, cogent, and refreshingly blunt, cites statistics that reveal the loss of 90 percent of the earth's preindustrial fish population due to overfishing, explains why "the conservation of wild fish is a human health issue as well as an environmental one," and cites the problems with fish farming. He even takes restaurants to task for serving "the marine equivalent of the panda, the rhino, and the great apes," and provides lists of fish to avoid and those you can eat "with a clear conscience." Healthy ocean ecosystems are our birthright, Clover declares, and "the time has come to change the laws of the sea so that they are more like the laws of the land." Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved