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Let Them Eat Shrimp: The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforrests of the Sea [Hardcover]

Kennedy Warne

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Book Description

20 Dec 2011
What's the connection between a plate of king prawns at your local restaurant and murdered fishermen in Honduras, impoverished women in Ecuador, and disastrous hurricanes along America's Gulf coast? Mangroves. Many people have never heard of these salt-water forests, but for those who depend on their riches, mangroves are indispensable. They are natural storm barriers, home to innumerable exotic creatures - from crab-eating vipers to man-eating tigers - and provide food and livelihoods to millions of coastal dwellers. Now they are being destroyed to make way for shellfish farming and other coastal development. For those who stand in the way of these industries, the consequences can be deadly. In 'Let Them Eat Shrimp', Kennedy Warne takes readers into the muddy battle zone that is the mangrove forest. A tangle of snaking roots and twisted trunks, mangroves are often dismissed as foul wastelands. In fact, they are supermarkets of the sea, providing shellfish, honey, timber, and charcoal to coastal communities from New Zealand to South America to Florida. Generations have built their lives around mangroves and consider these swamps sacred. To shellfish farmers and land developers, mangroves simply represent a good investment. The tidal land on which they stand often has no title, so with a nod and wink from a compliant official, it can be turned from a public resource to a private possession. The forests are bulldozed; their traditional users dispossessed. The true price of shellfish farming and other coastal development has gone largely unheralded in the media. A longtime journalist, Warne now captures the insatiability of these industries and the magic of the mangroves.

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"Kennedy Warne tells it straight: mangroves are under threat. In his passionate travelogue, he covers everything from vandal monkeys to life on the shores of the Red Sea, chronicling the global fight to save the rainforests of the sea. "Let Them Eat Shrimp" is a cocktail worth savoring."--Raj Patel "author of"The Value of Nothing" "

About the Author

Kennedy Warne is author of Roads Less Travelled and founding editor of New Zealand Geographic. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, GEO, and other publications.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mangroves make the world a better place 5 April 2011
By S - Published on Amazon.com
The idea for this book originated as a story for National Geographic Magazine-- the article is a great preview for the book. The slide show is amazing, of course. [...]

Kennedy Warne visits mangroves from Bangladesh to Eritrea to Panama and Brazil. Though the title references shrimp farms, the book is centered on the ecology of mangroves, the cultures they support, threats to their continued existence, and ecosystem services. Culture? Yes--just like the rainforests referenced in the subtitle, mangroves support people who depend on them for shellfish, charcoal, fisheries, and even honey. Their exploitation by small groups of people may be sustainable, but mangroves are vulnerable to coastal development for tourism, timber, and shrimp farms. Warne travels the globe and finds that many governments protect mangroves on paper, but enforcement is lacking and development is often unregulated. It's not all bad news though, there are some encouraging stories of innovative sustainable development and reforestation programs, mangrove restoration and mitigation. None of the policy or science is excruciating or boring, however. It reads more like a travelogue-- I was reminded of Douglas Adams's Last Chance to See, one of my favorite books. Tigers hunt the mangroves in Bangladesh, monkeys in Tanzania use their tails to lure crabs, a humanitarian/cell biologist leads reforestation efforts in Eritrea. It's fascinating stories that are linked by mangroves.

Warne says that he is interested in mangroves because "they're maligned, they're marginalized....Mangroves are underdogs." He champions them well. Though not everyone may find them beautiful, they provide services that should easily win friends, such as nursery habitat for fish and shrimp, roosting and nectar for birds, storm buffer, silt trap, and carbon sink.

Based on the title, I was expecting more comparison between the costs of shrimp farming and wild shrimp harvesting, but the shrimp farms are one of many issues in the book. The book is refreshingly free of instructions on how to live our lives or snobbery towards the first-world lifestyle. Warne does not talk down to the reader or preach. Highly recommended to naturalists, travelers, and anyone curious about the cultures and ecosystems of the world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and well written 29 July 2012
By Colin McNair - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This writer is well versed in his topic and wrote in a clear and informative style. If you've been wondering why shrimp have been so underpriced in the stores, this book will show you the hidden costs.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 14 July 2014
By worker bee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
ok read
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must read if you are genuinly interested in mangroves / wetlands . 23 Mar 2011
By hans voerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book describes extremely clear (for anyone who is interested ) about the negative impact of shrimp farms on mangroves. Besides that it describes in an easy to understand way the way mangroves work.
I work daily in mangroves with tourists , and this is a great book and must read for those with some kind of interest in mangroves.
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