"Daniel Pauly is a friend whose work has inspired me for years." —Ted Danson, actor, ocean activist, and co-author of Oceana
"This wonderfully personal and accessible book by the world’s greatest living fisheries biologist summarizes and expands on the causes of collapse and the essential actions that will be required to rebuild fish stocks for future generations.” —Dr. Jeremy Jackson, ocean scientist and author of Breakpoint
The world’s fisheries are in crisis. Their catches are declining, and the stocks of key species, such as cod and bluefin tuna, are but a small fraction of their previous abundance, while others have been overfished almost to extinction. The oceans are depleted and the commercial fishing industry increasingly depends on subsidies to remain afloat.
In these essays, award-winning biologist Dr. Daniel Pauly offers a thought-provoking look at the state of today’s global fisheries—and a radical way to turn it around. Starting with the rapid expansion that followed World War II, he traces the arc of the fishing industry’s ensuing demise, offering insights into how and why it has failed.
With clear, convincing prose, Dr. Pauly draws on decades of research to provide an up-to-date assessment of ocean health and an analysis of the issues that have contributed to the current crisis, including globalization, massive underreporting of catch, and the phenomenon of “shifting baselines,” in which, over time, important knowledge is lost about the state of the natural world.
Finally, Vanishing Fish provides practical recommendations for a way forward—a vision of a vibrant future where small-scale fisheries can supply the majority of the world’s fish.
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About the Author
Daniel Pauly, PhD is an esteemed researcher who, in 1995, coined the term “shifting baselines.” A professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, he directs the Sea Around Us, an initiative devoted to studying and mitigating the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems. His work has been profiled in outlets such as Science , Nature , and the New York Times , and he has been recognized with numerous awards, including a fellowship with the Royal Society of Canada.
Jennifer Jacquet, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University and the author of I s Shame Necessary ?, a book about why shame can be a weapon of choice in a globalized world facing many social and environmental dilemmas. She lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Foreword Jennifer Jacquet vii
Preface and Acknowledgments xi
Duplicity and Ignorance in Fisheries 1
Aquacalypse Now: The End of Fish 21
Major Trends in Small-Scale Fisheries 33
ITQS: The Assumptions Behind a Meme 48
Putting Fisheries Management in Its Places 55
Fisheries Management For Whom? 59
Fishing More and Catching Less 68
Bycatch Uses in Southeast Asia 73
On Reconstructing Catch Time Series 80
A Global, Community-Driven Catch Database 86
Catches Do Reflect Abundance 89
The Shifting Baseline Syndrome of Fisheries 94
Further Thoughts on Historical Observations 99
Consilience in Research 108
Focusing One's Microscope 116
Homo Sapiens: Cancer or Parasite? 121
Academics in Public Policy Debates 127
Worrying About Whales 132
Not the Fisheries Committee 137
My Personal Odyssey I: On Becoming a Canadian Fisheries Scientist 145
My Personal Odyssey II: Toward a Conservation Ethic for the Seas 156
My Personal Odyssey III: Having to Science the Hell Out of It 169
Epilogue: Some Gloom, but Surely No Doom 196
Abbreviations and Glossary 198
What People are Saying About This
"Daniel Pauly is a friend whose work has inspired me for years. This new book of his—despite its forbidding title—is optimistic, because it shows that we know how we could make our fisheries sustainable, and save ocean biodiversity."—Ted Danson, actor, ocean activist, and co-author of Oceana
"Marine biologist Daniel Pauly coined the term ‘shifting baselines’ to describe perceptions of environmental degradation: what is viewed as pristine today would strike our ancestors as damaged. In these trenchant essays, Pauly trains that lens on fisheries, revealing a global ‘aquacalypse.’"—Nature
"A dive into Vanishing Fish is a chilling reality check. But it shows us how to push our heads above water." —Globe & Mail
" Vanishing Fish is an eloquent call to do a better job of caring for and protecting the Earth’s resources."—Foreword Reviews
“Pauly’s insights into global fisheries provide an understanding of the root causes of our unsustainable ocean fishery and are an essential guide to sustain this vital resource.”—David Suzuki
"Over the years, studying the issues he lays out here in Vanishing Fish , Daniel Pauly has always been someone I turned to—consistently interesting and insightful."—Mark Kurlansky, journalist and author of The Last Fish Tale and World Without Fish
“Like Rachel Carson, who heroically awakened us to the dangers of DDT, Daniel Pauly almost single-handedly led the charge to expose the fallacies, scientific hairsplitting, and corruption that was the handmaiden of the precipitous global decline of marine fisheries. This wonderfully personal and accessible book by the world’s greatest living fisheries biologist summarizes and expands on the causes of collapse and the essential actions that will be required to rebuild fish stocks for future generations.”—Jeremy Jackson, PhD, ocean scientist and author of Breakpoint