Many environmentalists believe that the world's overexploited and ailing oceans will soon replace tropical rainforests as the most pressing global ecology issue. Commercial fishing techniques -- especially large-scale driftnets and bottom trawling -- inadvertently and unnecessarily kill huge numbers of ocean animals and destroy the ocean floor. Yet while these and other perilous conditions have seriously reduced harvest levels of fish worldwide, more people than ever before, 1 billion, rely on fish as their main source of animal protein, making it the fifth largest agricultural commodity in the world.
Biologist Michael Berril explores this simmering crisis with thoroughness and authority. The Plundered Seas opens with a lucid overview of world fisheries and their historical pattern of discovery, exploitation, depletion and death. Berril goes on to survey the evolution of international laws governing exclusive fishing zones, the efforts at governmental regulation of the fiercely independent industry, the problems with predicting stock size, and the connected implications for management. Offering both cogent analysis and specific suggestions for reform, The Plundered Seas is a timely and important work about a serious yet little understood situation.