Consilience Productions
Book Picks

The Empty Ocean
    ---- Plundering the World's Marine Life
by Richard Ellis
published by Island Press
© 1995 by Natalie Angier


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From Booklist

Ellis--ocean lover, artist, and prolific author--has been introducing readers to the wonders of marine life for decades, a mission that has now become urgent. Humankind has always felt free to kill vast quantities of marine creatures, a habit turned diabolical with the development of ever more sophisticated and destructive fishing-and-hunting technologies. As the human population has increased, the marine population has plummeted, and Ellis tells the complex story behind this equation for disaster with a vast array of facts, unfailing eloquence, and bracing frankness. He deftly introduces an astonishing spectrum of once abundant, now dwindling marine creatures, such as sardines, cod, sea turtles, seabirds, fur seals, whales, and, in a particularly fascinating chapter, the rarely studied family of sea horses. Pollution, bioinvaders, overkilling, and underthinking have put the entire marine world, which, as Ellis writes, is "more intricately woven" than a rain forest, in peril, and the only hope for reversing this catastrophic loss is to channel the informed concern aroused by Ellis, Carl Safina, and other knowledgeable champions of the sea into a campaign for reform. --- Donna Seaman.

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