Fisheries and Living Marine Resources

Brooks, William K. 1996. The Oyster: A Popular Summary of a Scientific Study. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. The Oyster thoroughly covers the biology of the oyster, a species whose harvest has fallen to its lowest level on record. Brooks provides a critical scientific review of oyster management in the Chesapeake Bay. He comments on and criticizes contemporary laws and regulatory practices, many of which are still in place today.

Carey, Richard Adams. 1999. Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company. This book was reviewed in the NY Times Book Review with the comment that it is "deep ecological journalism at its best, an effective and compassionate chronicle of a threatened way of life." Carey follows the lives of four fishermen and reflects on their changed fortunes. He weaves the details of the fishermen’s lives with passages on local and global fishing history, the minutiae of national and regional legislation severely regulating the fishing industry, the vicissitudes of the weather, and a multitude of stories and anecdotes.

Earle, Sylvia. 1996. Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans. Fawcett Books. Earle is a well-known marine biologist and advocate for the marine environment. In Sea Change she relays her experiences as one of the few women in the field of marine science and of conducting undersea research, having spent 6,000 hours underwater over the last three decades. She describes the advances of marine science and human impacts to the marine environment. Sea Change will be of interest to those interested in marine biology, ocean exploration, and marine conservation from Earle’s personal perspective, rather than from a textbook.

Greenlaw, Linda. 1999. The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain's Journey. New York: Hyperion. Greenlaw, a successful female swordfish captain, provides the reader with an inside look at the operations and challenges of a deep sea fishing trip. The book is written in diary-like entries that cover the span of a 30-day fishing trip. Greenlaw begins by describing the preparation of the boat and continues through the entire course of the adventure. She talks about dealing with the weather, the crew, and other vessels that all present challenges along the way.

Johannes, R.E. 1981. Words of the Lagoon: Fishing and Marine Lore in the Palau District of Micronesia. Johannes was a marine biologist that spent over a year in Palau learning about the marine environment and cultural traditions associated with fishing and the marine environment from local fishermen. Words of the Lagoon was a seminal work that brought fishermen’s knowledge to the attention of marine scientists and managers. For those with interests in marine biology, anthropology, coral reef ecology, and/or fishing techniques.

Kurlansky, Mark. 1997. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World. New York: Walker and Company. The cod helped inspire the discovery and exploration of North America. It had a profound impact upon the economic development of New England and eastern Canada from the earliest times. Unfortunately, overfishing has led to significant population decline and threatens survival of the species. (There is also a version of this book geared towards children in elementary school: Kurlansky, Mark. 2001. The Cod’s Tale. Putnam Pub Group Juv.)

Matsen, Brad. 1998. Fishing Up North: Stories of Luck and Loss in Alaskan Waters. Alaska Northwest Books. From the decade when fishing fleets turned king crab into fortunes, to the annual circus of Bristol Bay’s monster salmon runs, the true stories in Fishing Up North carry the flavor of the modern fishermen’s life and fortunes in the waters off Alaska. This book presents the reader with firsthand accounts of storms, good and bad fishing, and the enjoyment of living from the decks of trawlers, longliners, crabbers, trollers, and gillnetters.

Safina, Carl. 1997. Song for the Blue Ocean. New York: Henry Holt and Co., Inc. Marine scientist Carl Safina encourages readers to take a wider interest in the oceans, especially because human actions and associated impacts now threaten much of the marine environment. Safina focuses on three regions (New England, U.S. Pacific Northwest, and Palau / South Pacific) all dealing with the effects of declining fisheries, as well as contemplating causes for the declines. He takes trips to visit the environments and observe the behavior of the dwindling stocks and the practices and views of fishers. Safina's mission is to build awareness of the social, economical and environmental consequences of fish resource depletion, implying a need for immediate action for change.

Steinbeck, John, Edward Ricketts, and Richard Astro (Introduction). 1995 (Reprint edition). The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Penguin USA. This book is the daily account of a trip on a sardine boat that Steinbeck and Ricketts, a biologist, took in 1940 around the Baja Peninsula and through the Sea of Cortez. This book is considered a classic for those interested in marine biology. Additionally, it is part travel essay, relays stories of the scientific expedition, and provides philosophical commentaries.

Walker, Spike. 2003. Working on the Edge: Surviving in the World's Most Dangerous Profession: King Crab Fishing on Alaska's High Seas. McClelland and Stewart Inc.: Canada. Few professions put man against nature more brutally than king crab fishing in the frigid, unpredictable waters of the Bering Sea. Walker combines his personal story with the stories of survivors of the industry’s largest disasters, he re-creates the boom years of Alaskan crab fishing, a modern-day gold rush that drew hundreds of fortune, and adventure-hunters to Alaska’s dangerous waters and the crash that followed.

**Special thanks to Marc Hershman, Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs ( ), for sharing a reading list from the SMA 500 course, from which many of these books and summaries were drawn.

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