One of the latest books (at least to cross my desk) from the very prolific Mark Everard is Britain's Game Fishes which he has coauthored with Paul Knight. The subtitle is celebration and conservation of salmonids, and indeed it is a celebration written in an engaging style and attempting the all-encompassing. As a life member and former council member of the Freshwater Biological Association, Mark probably needs little introduction in terms of his credentials to write about fish. What works particularly well for me at least in this book is his collaboration with Paul presumably initiated through the fisheries environmental charity, the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA). Paul is currentlv the Chief Executive while Mark acts as a science advisor to the S&TA, a body that has been extremely influential in lobbying government departments and agencies to follow policies that protect aquatic environments for all dependent species, not just salmonids. The content is divided into three broad sections. The first provides a general introduction to the native game fishes of the British lsles, spanning salmon, brown trout, grayling and the whitefishes, and with a quick nod to the familiar alien, the rainbow trout. For me, embroiled in fundamental science from day to day, I was a little disappointed with these short chapters. Of course, much of the generic content on life cycles etc can be gleaned from the numerous books covering 'fish of the British lsles' but I was expecting more detail on the wealth of recent research on the functional role of salmonids within aquatic ecosystems, and more perhaps on where our anadromous fish get to on their migrations that we have learned from large scale studies in the last decade. As a specific example, approximately 50% of the space discussing the role of Atlantic salmon was given over to the interaction with pearl mussel, which whilst of interest, does not match its role as predator, prey, host to parasites, and conveyor of productivity from marine to freshwater ecosystems, and which onlv warrants one sentence. That minor gripe aside, the following two sections really comprise the 'meat' of the book and these focus on past and current pressures, and the outlook for the future. lt is here that Mark and Paul's combined wide-ranging knowledge brings all the historical, cultural, and environmental aspects from the truly global to the very local, into perspective and in a comprehensive yet accessible format. The final section on changing rules, changing values, and people power highlighted by the sterling work of organisations such as the Wild Trout Trust and the numerous Rivers Trusts for example, brings the content bang up to date and back onto one's doorstep to assess and reflect upon 'what our game fishes have ever done for us'. While the book is clearly not aimed at the salmonid researcher, as a case study of environmental pressures on iconic species and what we can do about them, it is certainly an accomplished piece of work and an enjoyable read from cover to cover. -- Jon Grey Freshwater Biological Association News
About the Author
Dr Mark Everard has a lifelong obsession with fish, water and the aquatic environment. Author of numerous books, magazine and scientific publications, many of them addressing fish and fishing, Mark is also a regular contributor to TV and radio. He is an adviser to government in the UK, India and South Africa on the sustainable use and management of water and other ecosystems, having also advised and conducted research right across the world. Mark is science adviser to the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) as well as vice-president of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), fellow of the Linnean Society, founding director of the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART), and a life member and former council member of both the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and the Angling Trust. Mark finds time to fish whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself, but most particularly in rivers accessible from his home in North Wiltshire where he lives with his partner Jackie, daughter Daisy and many tanks of fish. Paul Knight has been involved with fish for most of his working life, including catching them as a commercial fisherman and angler, growing them as a trout farmer and now trying to conserve them as Chief Executive of the fisheries environmental charity, the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA). He is a Council member and Fellow of the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), and spends his time attempting to influence government departments and agencies to follow policies that will protect the aquatic environment and all its dependent species. He writes for various fisheries-related and environmental magazines, and has successfully published a book of angling tales, Amazing Fishing Stories. He lives with his wife, Angela, and son, Archie, in Wiltshire.