Vanishing Species: Saving the Fish, Sacrificing the Fisherman
Since its inception, the SFA has been a fulcrum for escalating tensions between environmentalists, who argue that the mandates of the SFA are being ignored, and fishermen and their families, whose existence has come to depend on how government employees and a federal judge interpret the SFA. Although some scientists and environmentalists believe the fish stocks remain at levels too low to sustain further harvesting, many fishermen believe that the fish stocks are rising and that the government's means of measuring them is flawed. At the heart of the conflict is the survival of both the fish and the New England fishing communities.
Playfair's compelling narrative brings the reader face-to-face with all aspects of this controversy. She examines the day-to-day business of groundfishing prior to the enactment of regulations, as well as the much-debated issue of farming fish through aquaculture as an alternative to harvesting fish from the sea. She asks how fish stocks fell so low that they became endangered, and she questions whether the fishermen are really at fault or simply are scapegoats for a larger problem. Playfair takes the reader onboard boats with different types of fishing gear; on voyages with scientists and fishermen seeking an equitable way to allow New England fishermen to fish while maintaining the numbers of groundfish needed in order for the populations to spawn and grow; and into seafood restaurants where demand remains high and fresh fish are treated with the respect they deserve. If we lose the fisherman, Playfair reminds us, we lose our access to the fresh fish we now take for granted. The alternative may be a nomadic factory trawler--destructive to the environment, wasteful of the resource, and a sap to the soul of small coastal communities.
Based in large part on interviews with a wide range of people--fishermen and their families, restaurant managers, environmentalists, fisheries scientists, politicians, and government officials--Vanishing Species offers a series of unforgettable portraits of people who are involved in the struggle to find a way to support sustainable fishing and the communities that rely on it.
"...a heartfelt and thorough examination of the complex scientific, environmental and economic issues arising from commercial fishing."--Valley News"...an in-depth view of the processing and distribution centers, as well as the seafood restaurants that purchase the product of the fishermens' labor. Fishermen, scientists, and environmentalists will appreciate the model for a sustainable future advocated by the author."--Northeastern Naturalist"The book is thought-provoking and packed with details about fishermen, fishing techniques, regulations, fisheries management, public hearings, statistics and the business of buying and selling fish."--The Patriot Ledger 6 x 9 trim. 1 illus.
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- Susan R. Playfair(Author)
- UPNE; 1st edition (March 1, 2003)
- Science & Math
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