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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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