Book Review of
Ocean Bankruptcy: World Fisheries on the Brink of Disaster
Ocean Bankruptcy, written by Stephen Sloan, was published by The Globe Pequote Press, PO Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437, in 2003.
Blurb taken from the jacket cover:
“This breakthrough book describes the games that nations and organizations play in order to exploit the ocean’s migratory fishery resources in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean waters. It examines the attitudes and actions of different countries, fishermen, and consumers, all lobbying for greater allocations for themselves while the supply of fish is being rapidly depleted. Stephen Sloan weaves together his provable theory that the oceans are being depleted THREE TIMES (emphasis mine) faster than is reported by scientists. He uses simple formulas and addresses what the numbers mean in a biological/ecological sense, and whether they match up with those found in statistical reports.”
Ocean Bankruptcy offers a fresh look at the world of fisheries conservation. The author tells this unique story through accounts of international meetings of government delegations, lobbyists, special-interest groups, and nongovernmental environmental organizations. The book utilizes nonscientific jargon that will appeal to the large number of people who are concerned about the health of our oceans, and, ultimately, the health of our planet.”
Stephen Sloan is an avid sports-fisherman; but more than that, he has served on the Marine Advisory Fishery Commission, eventually becoming its chairman. He still serves on the boards of The International Game Fish Association and the National Coalition for Marine Conservation and is the chairman of the Fisheries Defence Fund, Inc. He is also a special advisor to the Recreational Fishing Alliance and an adjunct professor at the Rosensteil School for Marine Science at the University of Miami. Therefore, he is fully qualified to unravel fact from fiction and reveal what is really taking place in the fishing industry.
The bottom line is that Canada and the US are the only countries keeping within set quotas. The European Union refuses to join any call that would limit their fishing. As a result, they have literally stripped the Mediterranean of marine life and are now venturing abroad to satisfy their cavernous appetite. South American and Asian fishermen are doing the same. However, these working men are not entirely to blame. Japan will buy any fish, legally caught or not. As it is with street drugs, without that market, there would not be the problem facing marine conservation.
Such food fish as tuna and cod are the main targets of commercial fishermen and are the ones with quotas. However, other marine life is also caught in the process and thrown back into the sea – usually dead. Even when an illegal fish is snagged, often it is left for an hour or more before it is thrown back into the sea. This practice ensures that the animal is dead when it could have lived if it been dealt with immediately. Although quotas are set for such fish as tuna and cod, there are no specifications for such bait as the millions of squid that are used.
Videos have been taped showing illegal fishing and have been turned in to proper authorities – which were ultimately squelched. The author mentions one such video or CD (The Connie Jean Incident) “of a graphic film showing long lining at its worst.” This is one that was turned into the news media but has been stalled so that it would not be shown to the public. But, if “the public” really wants to know – send $5.00 for each copy of the video or CD to The Fisheries Defence Fund, 1040 First Ave., Suite 367, New York, NY 10022.
Ocean Bankruptcy is a very revealing book – complete with quotes and good documentation. This “insider’s” scoop exposes what is really happening with the oceans of the world and all that lives (or used to live) within them. While many are concerned with what is happening to the land and air, plants, and animals, endangered marine life is often overlooked. This book is a must-read for all those concerned with the on-going rape of the planet.