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The Unnatural History of the Sea

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The Unnatural History of the Sea Cover

ISBN13: 9781597261029
ISBN10: 1597261025
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


Humanity can make short work of the oceans’ creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller’s sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than thirty years, the amiable beast had been harpooned into extinction. It’s a classic story, but a key fact is often omitted. Bering Island was the last redoubt of a species that had been decimated by hunting and habitat loss years before the explorers set sail.

As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans’ bounty didn’t disappear overnight. While today’s fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas.

Drawing on firsthand accounts of early explorers, pirates, merchants, fishers, and travelers, the book recreates the oceans of the past: waters teeming with whales, sea lions, sea otters, turtles, and giant fish. The abundance of marine life described by fifteenth century seafarers is almost unimaginable today, but Roberts both brings it alive and artfully traces its depletion. Collapsing fisheries, he shows, are simply the latest chapter in a long history of unfettered commercialization of the seas.

The story does not end with an empty ocean. Instead, Roberts describes how we might restore the splendor and prosperity of the seas through smarter management of our resources and some simple restraint. From the coasts of Florida to New Zealand, marine reserves have fostered spectacular recovery of plants and animals to levels not seen in a century. They prove that history need not repeat itself: we can leave the oceans richer than we found them.

Review:

"There are times when the capacity of mankind to blind itself to plain reality is simply breathtaking. Thus to this day we still believe, as was universally believed two centuries ago, that the seas surrounding us afford an infinite source of wealth. As recently as half a century ago, two respected academics asserted in a book titled 'The Inexhaustible Sea' that what the ocean 'has to offer extends... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans bounty didnt disappear overnight. While todays fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas.

About the Author

Callum M. Roberts is professor of marine conservation at the University of York in England. He is a prolific author and researcher, and has advised the U.S., British, and Caribbean governments on the creation of marine reserves.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

kjoyner, July 2, 2008 (view all comments by kjoyner)
This is a MUST READ if you are interested in the ocean environment. This book is staggeringly comprehensive in its coverage of the many centuries of fishing as it developed and how it resulted in the ocean destruction that exists today.

Unfortunately it was, to me, so verrrryyyy dry that I really had to work hard to finish. If you like endless excerpts from the old salts journals (with old language styles and the accompanying misspellings), you may have a more favorable reaction.

The facts and statistics of over-fishing will blow you away! It should serve as a clarion call for us to get busy and take measures to focus some attention on this critical ocean world.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781597261029
Publisher:
Island Press
Subject:
History
Author:
Roberts, Callum
Subject:
Ocean
Subject:
Maritime History
Subject:
Oceans & Seas
Subject:
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Subject:
POL044000
Subject:
Ocean and civilization.
Subject:
Ocean - History
Subject:
Ecosystems & Habitats - Oceans & Seas
Subject:
General History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
August 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
36 illustrations and photos.
Pages:
456
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » General

The Unnatural History of the Sea
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 456 pages Island Press - English 9781597261029 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
As Callum M. Roberts reveals in The Unnatural History of the Sea, the oceans bounty didnt disappear overnight. While todays fishing industry is ruthlessly efficient, intense exploitation began not in the modern era, or even with the dawn of industrialization, but in the eleventh century in medieval Europe. Roberts explores this long and colorful history of commercial fishing, taking readers around the world and through the centuries to witness the transformation of the seas.
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