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This is a very good book. It's mostly about the history of man's exploitation of the sea. For example, whaling and over-fishing. There are not many books about the history of how over-fishing and over-hunting in the past has created the environment we have today.I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in fisheries, marine mammals, and the history of maritime exploration and commerce.
The first book I read by Callum Roberts was Oceans of Life, which is also superb, and is more focused on the oceans as ecosystems.
Even if you think you know what we've done to the oceans, the fact is, you probably don't.
Roberts does a great job making you aware of this in painstaking, but never laboured, detail.
Particularly interesting is the treatment of secular hero, and Darwin ally, Thomas Huxley, who managed to be hopelessly wrong about the interaction between natural systems and market forces not once, but twice, and who doubtlessly went to his grave thoroughly convinced that it was reality that was the party at fault! His high-handed, patronising treatment of witnesses at his inquiry is cringe-inducing, and gave me a new perspective on the man, and the foibles of intellectual arrogance.
Which, really, is the message of the book. Free markets in the oceans are a disaster. Marine parks and competent regulation are the solution.
At the very least you'll gain an insight into why your grandchildren ended up living off jellyfish...
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Learning about slavery and colonisation of other countries made me ashamed to be white and European, thus book made me ashamed to be human. I shed a tear when I learned how humans have ravaged the seas for their own gain, only thinking of short term profit.
It makes for pretty depressing reading for the more sensitive of us (me). As a pescatarian, I've now made the decision to go full veggie unless the fish are from a sustainable source.
The book itself was for me pretty hard going, it began very well but lost me a bit half way. I'm glad I continued though because it ended spectacularly. It's left me pretty emotional though.
I wish I knew how to help end the ravaging of the seas, but even reading thus book and being aware of the destruction is a start. A massive eye opener, a heartbreaking tale.
A valuable book for anyone interested in marine biology and the effects of fishing upon our oceans. Provides an interesting account of our once bountiful seas, what we are doing now and where we are heading in the future. Callum Roberts accents throughout the book are great, if he wasn't a scientist he could do impersonations. I did up the pace of the book to 1.25 or 1.5 though because I found it slightly better listening. I highly recommend Callum Roberts other book "Oceans of Life" as well.