From Publishers Weekly
Marine conservation biologist Roberts presents a devastating account of the effects of fishing on the sea. Once abundant aquatic life has declined to the point where we probably have less than five percent of the total mass of fish that once swam in Europe's seas, he states. Intensive fishing since medieval times has caused this decline gradually over the centuries, so that the fish-deprived sea seems normal to today's generations. Industrial fishing, especially trawling, has virtually eliminated entire habitats, including cod in Canada, oysters in Chesapeake Bay and herring in the North Sea. Now, sophisticated devices such as sonar depth sensors are being used to plunder that last frontier, the deep sea. Callum's alarming conclusion is that by the year 2048, fisheries for all the fish and shellfish species we exploit today will have collapsed. He argues persuasively for the establishment of marine reserves—protected areas where fish stocks have a chance to recover. His impressive book, replete with quotations from the reports of early explorers, merchants and travelers describing seas teeming with life that's unimaginable today, is a vivid reminder of what we've lost and a plea to save what is left and help the sea recover some of its earlier bounty. Illus. not seen by PW
. (Aug. 15)
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Starting with the eighteenth-century voyages of Vitus Bering, Roberts leads the reader through a wealth of maritime history revealing countless examples of overfishing. By quoting everyone from naturalist Georg Steller to western writer and trophy fisherman Zane Gray and swordfish boat captain and author Lynda Greenlaw, he covers a wide range of perspectives from those who know the seas better than most. The overwhelming message is that profitability and sustainability are no longer compatible and hard choices must now be made. Roberts is eloquent and persuasive as he recounts centuries of ill-managed fishery planning, and allows those who have directly experienced dramatic changes in the oceans to speak for themselves. He offers both indictments and solutions in a straight-ahead book illustrated with historical photographs and drawings that should appeal equally to armchair enthusiasts, maritime aficionados, and scientists. Thoughtful, inspiring, devastating, and powerful, Roberts' comprehensive, welcoming, and compelling approach to an urgent subject conveys large problems in a succinct and involving manner. Readers won't be able to put it down. Mondor, Colleen
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