Song for the Blue Ocean

Carl Safina, Author, Safina, Author
Carl Safina, Author, Safina, Author Henry Holt & Company $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4671-7
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
""Close your eyes. Think fish. Do you envision half a ton of laminated muscle rocketing through the sea as fast as you drive your automobile?"" From tales of watching giant bluefin tuna off the Gulf of Maine to diving into ""a china shop of corals"" off Palau, nearly every sentence in Safina's state-of-the-oceans report is informed by his deep sense of these waters' beauty--and fragility. But research ecologist Safina, who founded the Living Oceans Program of the National Audubon Society, is no knee-jerk gainsayer of the people and practices responsible for the environmental devastation he tracks here. His ""encounters"" include some with fishermen and workers for corporations, whose needs he makes an effort to understand--though the corporations themselves don't fare so well in his assessment, and seemingly with good cause. Exploring the links between clear-cutting in places like Oregon and the Philippines and declining ocean wildlife populations, Safina makes the familiar case for the interrelatedness of various ecosystems seem fresh, writing as a sympathetic correspondent from the front lines. He knows much about a wide variety of species and their habits (including those of politicians and policy-makers), and what he doesn't know, we discover along with him. Published to coincide with the U.N.-declared International Year of the Ocean, Safina's first book (he has written for Scientific American and Audubon) is a welcome paean to ""the reality of the living oceans."" Four maps. Rights (except British and electronic): Jean V. Naggar. (Jan.)
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