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- The empty ocean : plundering the world's marine life, written and illustrated by Richard Ellis.
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More filters. Sort order. Oct 04, Eliel Lopez rated it really liked it. A bit dated but still very interesting. We all really need to do a far better job at being better stewards of our Earth and its' Oceans. Feb 09, Fernleaf rated it really liked it Shelves: oceans , overfishing , nonfiction , fisheries , seafood.
This is becoming an older book, first published in , but for all that is still a worthwhile read for those interested in the history of humankind's immense exploitation of the sea. It is a mostly depressing read as the news is seldom good, and each chapter seems like the same story with only slightly different players. The book is broken down into chapters and sections that mostly each focus on a particular species or group of species that have been exploited or extirpated, giving a rapid-fi This is becoming an older book, first published in , but for all that is still a worthwhile read for those interested in the history of humankind's immense exploitation of the sea.
The book is broken down into chapters and sections that mostly each focus on a particular species or group of species that have been exploited or extirpated, giving a rapid-fire breakdown of their history with humans supplemented with tidbits of natural history. Due to the immense number of place names, dates, catch numbers and species names the text can be very dry in places, and access to a computer or atlas is recommended for those lacking an encyclopedic knowledge of the world's far-flung islands.
Some illustrations pepper the text, but especially for some of the little-known species discussed or mentioned, additional internet research makes the book more meaningful. The first two-thirds of the book is devoted to the alarming decline in ocean species, from the more well-known examples of cod and tuna to less considered species like the extinct stellar's sea cow, the diminutive menhaden, or the plight of seahorses.
The whole thing reads like a treatise on man's inability to learn from his mistakes, and the expected recounting of fisheries collapse, whale hunting, and seal clubbing are interspersed with heartbreaking instances of even more senseless losses. The last of the great auks, the suffocation of sea lion cubs in introduced rabbit burrows, and the fact that Chinese river dolphins were still alive when this book was written.
The end of the book discusses larger ecological threats, primarily the fate of coral reefs and the threats of introduced species, and then goes on to consider the future and briefly discuss measures that might make a real difference considering that decades or in some cases centuries of fisheries management has not been particularly successful.
It's not all doom and gloom however, and there are enough success stories scattered throughout to stave off complete despair. Given how long ago this was published and what else you may have read you may know more than the author did about certain things. The chapters on whales were particularly dire, and 16 years later many of the whale species do seem to be making a better recovery than predicted here.
Feb 11, Cher rated it really liked it. Excellent book! Sadly it is outdated at this point Also this book made me very depressed each night before bed Jun 01, Avana rated it it was ok Shelves: other. Whole passsges in this book are lifted word for word from Robert Kunzig's "Mapping the Deep". May 25, Amy rated it liked it. Lots of interesting information about the ocean, and its past present and future, specifically about some species that have been most affected by human impacts. Sep 05, Grindy Stone rated it really liked it. Sobering account of mankind's rape of the oceans, cleverly told through mini-essays of species most stressed by homo sapiens.
Required reading for trivia nuts and environmentalists. Dec 03, Kim Zinkowski rated it really liked it.
Law of the Sea
A species by species compendium of the destruction that man has caused Jul 24, Marissa rated it it was amazing. Absolutely fascinating and eyeopening. May 07, Sharon rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction. A wonderfully well-written, yet horrifying book about man's catastrophic influence on the ocean and its wildlife. I've read various articles on this topic, but seeing various species covered in a series of chapters is very sobering. Uploaded by sf-loaders archive. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet.
The empty ocean : plundering the world's marine life Item Preview. EMBED for wordpress. Want more? Advanced embedding details, examples, and help! Includes bibliographical references p. Emptying the ocean. Some species of aquatic birds died by the thousands because they were trapped in nets meant for fishes, and some, like the flightless great auk, were hunted for food and clubbed out of existence.
Our ability to affect the life and death of sea creatures—the subject of this book—acutely underscores our responsibility to the creatures that share our planet. In that sense—and only in that sense—is it our planet. We are stranded on shore, watching as the bountiful sea life disappears before our uncomprehending eyes. For many species, what we do—or don't do—in the coming years will make the difference between existence and extinction. In some cases, it is too late to do anything; the sea cows, great auks, Labrador ducks, and Caribbean monk seals are gone, probably to be followed into the black hole of extinction by barndoor skates, thorn-back rays, Patagonian toothfish, Chinese river dolphins, Ganges River dolphins, and the little Gulf of California porpoises known as vaquitas.
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Weep for them—and listen to the words of William Beebe: "The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again. Abundant signs of the biosphere's limited resilience exist all around. But it will not grow further, simply because the amount of ocean is fixed and the organisms it can generate is static. As a result, all of the world's seventeen oceanic fisheries are at or below sustainable yield.
During the s the annual global catch leveled off at about 90 million tons. Pressed by ever growing global demand, it can be expected eventually to drop. Already fisheries of the western North Atlantic, the Black Sea, and portions of the Caribbean have collapsed. Aquaculture, or the farming of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, takes up part of the slack, but at rising environmental cost.
This "fin-and-shell revolution" necessitates the conversion of valuable wetland habitats, which are nurseries for marine life. To feed the captive populations, fodder must be diverted from crop production. Thus aquaculture competes with other human activity for productive land while reducing natural habitat. What was once free for the taking must now be manufactured.
The Empty Ocean: Plundering the World's Marine Life by Richard Ellis, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®
The marine ecosystem has traditionally been considered safe from human degradation, mostly because of its size and depth. There was just too much of it for our puny efforts to have much of an effect, and the creatures that lived in it seemed infinite in variety and endless in number. John Seabrook noted in a Harper's magazine article:. Marine-fishery management has always rested on the assumption that the number of fish in the sea is limitless.
Other of our natural resources—timber, bison, land, wild horses—used to be managed in the same way, and each time we neared the end of the resource the philosophy changed. Ocean management has not yet changed, although it has begun to adapt. The ocean is still free, as it has been forever. Traditionally, if you wanted to buy a factory trawler, hire a crew of a hundred men, and go out and catch tens of thousands of fish a day, you didn't have to pay the government anything for the use of the resource—no rent, no special taxes.
In fact, the government would help set you up in business with tax incentives and low interest loans.
The Empty Ocean
At his inaugural address to the International Fisheries Exhibition in London in June , Thomas Huxley spoke of the state of the fisheries. Not even a salmon river could be exhausted, he said, because the men who fished the river were "reachable by force of law.