5 Easy Pieces: The Impact of Fisheries on Marine Ecosystems

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5 Easy Pieces features five contributions, originally published in Nature and Science, demonstrating the massive impacts of modern industrial fisheries on marine ecosystems. Initially published over an eight-year period, from 1995 to 2003, these articles illustrate a transition in scientific thought—from the initially-contested realization that the crisis of fisheries and their underlying ocean ecosystems was, in fact, global to its broad acceptance by mainstream scientific and public opinion.
Daniel Pauly, a well-known fisheries expert who was a co-author of all five articles, presents each original article here and surrounds it with a rich array of contemporary comments, many of which led Pauly and his colleagues to further study. In addition, Pauly documents how popular media reported on the articles and their findings. By doing so, he demonstrates how science evolves. In one chapter, for example, the popular media pick up a contribution and use Pauly’s conclusions to contextualize current political disputes; in another, what might be seen as nitpicking by fellow scientists leads Pauly and his colleagues to strengthen their case that commercial fishing is endangering the global marine ecosystem. This structure also allows readers to see how scientists’ interactions with the popular media can shape the reception of their own, sometimes controversial, scientific studies.
In an epilog, Pauly reflects on the ways that scientific consensus emerges from discussions both within and outside the scientific community.
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Editorial Reviews


"The availability of these articles and commentaries in one volume will be of significant advantage to students taking courses in fishery biology, marine biology, and natural resource management. Highly recommended."
Sharpe Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology, Brown University - Heather Leslie

"Daniel Pauly's new book will be of great interest to students of marine science and policy alike. With accessible language and good humor, Dr. Pauly places some of the most important marine conservation science articles of the last two decades in context in a way no one else could. 5 Easy Pieces is not only an excellent resource for those interested in these rapidly evolving fields; it also is a revealing commentary on the process and outcomes of scientific discovery."
Professor of marine conservation, University of York - Callum Roberts

"Pauly is the grand master of fisheries science. This is his engrossing account of how he discovered the true impacts of fishing on marine life, and is a fascinating window into the way scientific advances are made."
author of The Empty Ocean - Richard Ellis

"When Daniel Pauly warns that we'd better pay attention to the massive impacts that industrial fisheries are having on marine ecosystems, we'd better...pay attention. Pauly, who identified the concept of 'fishing down the food web' (taking out the largest predatory fish species first), believes that the future for fish and fisheries is bleak unless we are able to revise our approach to marine resources. This book is remarkably accessible, and more important, remarkable convincing."
"The availability of these articles and commentaries in one volume will be of significant advantage to students taking courses in fishery biology, marine biology, and natural resource management. Highly recommended."

"The availability of these articles and commentaries in one volume will be of significant advantage to students taking courses in fishery biology, marine biology, and natural resource management. Highly recommended."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597267199
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2010
  • Series: The State of the World's Oceans Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Pauly is a professor in the Fisheries Centre and Zoology Department at the University of British Columbia. Until 2008, he was Director of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre.
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Table of Contents

List of Exhibits
Chapter 1. Primary Production Required
Chapter 2. Fishing Down the Food Web
Chapter 3. China and the World's Fisheries
Chapter 4. Sustainability
Chapter 5. Future of Fisheries
Appendix 1: The origins of the 100 million tonnes myth
Appendix 2: Rejoinder: Response to Caddy et al.
Appendix 3: Post-1998 Studies of 'Fishing Down'
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