Swimming in Circles: Aquaculture and the Death of Our Oceans

Overview

Expanding on the author's year-long study of the shrimp and salmon aquaculture industries as an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow, the book lays out the rationale behind aquaculture development: increasing the world food supply and creating jobs in areas hard hit by declining landings in wild fisheries. However, reality is something else entirely: ravaged ecosystems and bankrupted local economies. The author expands on his existing case studies, near his homes in eastern Maine, and Sonora, Mexico, and links them...

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Overview

Expanding on the author's year-long study of the shrimp and salmon aquaculture industries as an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow, the book lays out the rationale behind aquaculture development: increasing the world food supply and creating jobs in areas hard hit by declining landings in wild fisheries. However, reality is something else entirely: ravaged ecosystems and bankrupted local economies. The author expands on his existing case studies, near his homes in eastern Maine, and Sonora, Mexico, and links them to events in other parts of the world. The author's 30 years experience in fisheries and aquaculture qualifies him to weigh the rhetoric and sift out the truth of this story. In six years as a freelance journalist, writing for the New York Times, Yankee, National Fisherman, and other publications, he has managed to describe complex material in an interesting and palatable style.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of this forceful, sometimes discursive book contends that fish farming, though touted as compensating for the world's dwindling fish supply, actually depletes ocean resources and creates more problems than it solves. After observing salmon and shrimp farms, especially in Maine and Mexico, and speaking with those who support and oppose aquaculture, Molyneaux (The Doryman's Reflection), who has been a fisherman himself, presents some disturbing facts. For example, farmed fish suffer from diseases, and the antibiotics used to treat them can enter the food chain and lead to the proliferation of disease-resistant bacteria. In addition, fish farms use pesticides that contaminate the ocean; wild fish have to be caught to feed farmed fish, resulting in further decimation of already depleted wild fish stocks; and there's a danger of genetic pollution when farmed fish escape and crossbreed with wild fish. Molyneaux's argument gets hazy when it wanders into a discussion of ecological economics, and offers no alternatives to aquaculture other than vague proposals that fishermen take a more active role in wild stock preservation. But he is mostly able to use his firsthand knowledge of the fishing industry to make a powerful case against aquaculture. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Aquaculture has been seen as a reliable source of fish and shellfish. Journalist Molyneaux (The Doryman's Reflection: A Fisherman's Life) is also an experienced fisher who has worked in aquaculture farms and fish-packing plants. Here, he examines the damaging effects of aquaculture on offshore ecology, local economies, and artisanal fishers through extensive visits to northwest Mexico and Maine. He reveals how escapees from fish pens spread viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria to wild populations, with disastrous effects on local economies and ecosystems. The author contends that negative findings on aquaculture cannot be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals because funding is received from aquaculture industry interests. Molyneaux reaches the same conclusions as Charles Clover in The End of the Line (see review, left). However, Clover's book is more logically organized and presents the interrelationships of various fisheries with their local economies in a more systematic manner. Suitable for public and high school libraries as a supplement to Clover's book.-Judith B. Barnett, Pell Marine Science Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Kingston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560257561
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Molyneaux began working in commercial fishing as a "lumper," unloading scallop boats, in 1976. He is the author of The Doryman's Reflection and writes about fisheries and marine issues for The New York Times, Yankee Magazine, and National Fisherman. He and his family split their time between Mexico and Maine.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Maps     xiv
The Expanding Universe
A Beautiful Fish     3
Endless Naked Shrimp     17
The Aquaboom     27
The Boys     49
Hitting the Limits
The Spiral Path     69
The Precautionary Approach     91
The Plagues     101
The Collapsing Universe
The Great Escape     127
Growing Pains     139
Techno-Optimism     155
Globalization of the Ocean     185
Ecological Economics: Welcome to the Real World     209
The End of the Wild
The Fish Market: Getting Less for More     235
Voices from Home     255
Go Wild     269
Fisheries Survivors     279
Agiabampo to Lubec     297
The Last Wild Eggs     319
Epilogue: The Race     327
Bibliography and Selected References     331
Acknowledgments     343
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