Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Nature Oceans & Seas

Cod: The Ecological History of the North Atlantic Fishery

by (author) George A. Rose

Breakwater Books Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2006
Oceans & Seas, Ecology, Fish
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2008
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2006
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The devastation of many of the greatest North Atlantic cod stocks, particularly those of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Grand Banks, has become an icon for the unsustainable relation between human exploitation and Nature. Here, George Rose tells the full story of that devastation, in scientific detail, for the first time – from the formation of the North Atlantic marine ecosystems to the massive stock declines in the last half of the 20th century. Politics and the fisheries are inextricably entwined. In Cod, Rose recounts the many political influences on the fisheries over several centuries and describes how neglect from the late 1800s onward led to insufficient scientific knowledge and little protection for the stocks when massive Euro-Russian fleets targeted the Grand Banks after World War II, destroying the most prolific fishery the world has known. Cod is no armchair account, but a controversial one that includes original information on the North Atlantic fisheries.

About the author

George Rose is one of Canada’s best known and most respected fisheries scientists. He is widely considered to be the authority on the Newfoundland and Labrador cod fishery. He was born in St. John’s, then attended school in Ontario. He holds degrees in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from the University of Guelph, in biology from Laurentian University, and holds a doctorate in biology from McGill University. His main career interests have been in the fisheries of the North Atlantic and in world-wide conservation, particularly in Africa, on which he has published over 100 peer reviewed publications. He lives on Three Island Pond in Paradise, Newfoundland.

George A. Rose's profile page


  • Short-listed, The Heritage and History Book Award
  • Winner, IPPY Awards, Gold Medal, Canada-East Best Regional Nonfiction
  • Short-listed, BMO Winterset Award

Editorial Reviews

“George Rose’s new book tackles one of Newfoundland’s biggest stories from a fresh perspective.” - Michael Power, The Muse

“This is an ambitious effort to tell the entire epic tale…It's a triumph of a book. Cod is written in plain and lively language. Lushly illustrated and assiduously researched, it cuts no corners but still deftly manages to weave the fascinating human history of Newfoundland into the saga of its complex marine ecology.” - Terry Glavin, Vancouver Sun

“Shakespeare couldn’t have written a grander tragedy.” 
- Aaron Beswick, The Northern Pen

"It really is a wonderful book." - Mark Callanan, The Independent

“The book is stuffed with wonderful photographs…The colour plates of the echograms are almost as beautiful, although the message they convey is heart-breaking.”
 - Robin McGrath, The Telegram

“…a fascinating read ¬— maybe a must read in the province’s classrooms.” - Ryan Cleary, The Independent

“Rose has put his years of research and experience to work. The result is a comprehensive, exhaustive, and balanced look at a fishery and a fish that has affected countless lives over the centuries...You don't have to have a degree in fisheries science to read or learn from this book, although you may feel like you've obtained one.” - Jodi Delong, The Chronicle Herald

“This book says it all about the life and times of cod…And no one can do that explaining better than George Rose.” - Jim Wellman, The Navigator Magazine