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Vanishing Fish

Shifting Baselines and the Future of Global Fisheries

Regular price $34.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781771643986
  • Tags: Current Affairs & Politics, Daniel Pauly, David Suzuki, Jennifer Jacquet, Nature & Environment, Science, The Ocean's Whistleblower,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 5/28/2019
  • 304 Pages

From renowned marine biologist Dr. Daniel Pauly, a fascinating analysis of our collapsed global fisheries and a revolutionary vision for their future.

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, he 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.

Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.

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 Is 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.


"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.’" 

"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