Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen

Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen

by Tora Johnson
     
 
Entanglements explores the clash of cultures and personalities among fishermen, scientists, and whale advocates struggling to save both the endangered North Atlantic right whale and the livelihoods of thousands of Atlantic coastal families. By most counts, about 300 of these whales remain in the North Atlantic, and scientists warn that collisions with fishing gear are

Overview

Entanglements explores the clash of cultures and personalities among fishermen, scientists, and whale advocates struggling to save both the endangered North Atlantic right whale and the livelihoods of thousands of Atlantic coastal families. By most counts, about 300 of these whales remain in the North Atlantic, and scientists warn that collisions with fishing gear are contributing to their decline.
The political climate that surrounds the world's most endangered large whale is contentious, complex, and heartrending. Without pointing fingers or laying blame, Tora Johnson explores every side of the issue. She takes us to sea with fishermen who struggle to stay in business, setting traps and gillnets in the whale's habitat, and with members of the rescue teams who attempt to cut away deadly rope and net from whales in the wild. Weaving their stories and her personal observations into a discussion of the science and history of the conflict, she offers an admirable balance of perceptions, backgrounds, and agendas.
Her thoughtful discussion of the plight of fishermen and whales and of the frustrations between fishing communities and conservationists presents an authentic microcosm of the global conflict between human demands on the environment and nature's finite capacity for supporting those demands.

Editorial Reviews

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Fans of The Secret Life of Lobsters will love this new book from Tora Johnson: an intimate exploration of the clash between human and marine life and the devastating effects of fishing nets on the whale population.

"We just want to go to work, and we don't want to kill a whale." Such are the sentiments of a Maine lobsterman, and Johnson, a science professor, guides readers through this 400-year-old dilemma and introduces readers to the personalities (both human and marine) affected by the conflict -- from the lobstermen who fish the rocky shores of Maine to the humpback whales literally bound and gagged by the fishing gear they've encountered.

"As small trap fisheries creep seaward, more whales are entangled in their deadly gear, dozens or even hundreds of miles offshore." But cutting back on lobster trap limits and crab and fishing quotas only causes rage and despair in fishermen and their coastal communities." A pragmatist at heart, Johnson believes that to polarize the debate between fisheries and whales "is the path to ulcers and failure." She argues that freedom for both whales and humans lies in exercising creativity, trust, and responsibility from the bottom up, rather than from the government down. "[We] have a chance to decide whether the next millennium will witness and demise or the return of whales and fisheries in the North Atlantic." Johnson navigates these choppy waters with heart and hope. (Fall 2005 Selection)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813027975
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Publication date:
03/28/2005
Edition description:
First
Pages:
312
Product dimensions:
6.35(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.15(d)

Meet the Author

Tora Johnson teaches geographic information science and marine studies at the University of Maine at Machias. She is the author of Guide to Freshwater Animals Without Backbones

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