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The End of the Line: How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat [Hardcover]

Charles Clover
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov 2006 159558109X 978-1595581099
Fish is the aspirational food for Western society, the healthy, weight-conscious choice, but those who eat and celebrate fish often ignore the fact that fishing is an industry as technologically advanced as space travel, with an attitude to conservation 10,000 years out of date. Trawling on an industrial scale in the North Sea smashes everything it does not catch, taking 16 lbs of dead marine animals to produce just 1lb of sole. Regulation isn't working, with fishermen losing money, dolphins dying unnecessarily and fish stocks collapsing, despite the warning of the extinction of cod in the seas off Cape Cod. Because of the shortage of traditional varieties the market has moved on, competing, sometimes illegally, with local fishermen in the waters off Africa, the Caribbean, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. "The End of the Line" also looks at the role of conservationists, the governments and multi-national companies and considers some models for recovery, for example how Barents Sea cod, Icelandic cod, North Sea herring have been rescued from near extinction, the possibilities of fish farming and the potential of locally managed offshore marine reserves. "Charles Clover's book is not only timely: it is absolutely necessary." - Margaret Atwood. "The worldwide scandal of overfishing must be given a public platform before it is too late - I know of no better person to undertake this task than Charles Clover." - Brendan May, Chief Executive, Marine Stewardship. "The global fisheries story desperately needs to be told in book form, and I cannot think of anyone better qualified to tell it." - George Monbiot, author "The Captive State".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159558109X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595581099
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 14.9 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,710,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Sushi lovers, even fans of a plain old tuna sandwich: Prepare to be put off your feed."Fishing with modern technology is the most destructive activity on Earth," writes British journalist Clover. Imagine, he instructs, a drag line tied between two bulldozers and dragged across the veldt. Impala, wildebeest, rhinos and lions fall. Because there is no market for much of the catch, a vast pile of corpses and wrecked habitat is left behind. So it is with the world's oceans, a vast killing field filled with technologically sophisticated deep-ocean fleets from the First World devastating the waters of the Third. (On that score, Clover writes, there's no mystery to the great concentration of fishing boats off the coast of Somalia: It has no government and can't complain.) Global fisheries are badly overexploited, even though official statistics from international agencies and national governments lie about the real numbers so their fishing activities will not be curtailed. Moreover, Clover reports, "the global fishing fleet is estimated to be two and a half times greater than needed to catch what the ocean can sustainably produce." The illegalities, improprieties and bureaucratic screens surrounding the world of industrial fishing are astonishing, to say nothing of the denial that anything is wrong. Clover is merciless in reporting them even as he, a dedicated pursuer of trout, allows that commercial fishing is not the only bad guy: Amazingly, especially in the U.S., everyone wants to be a sport angler, so that the Gulf of Mexico is now practically bereft of red snapper, even as the rest of the oceans are without their teeming shoals-and even as the population of fish-hungry humans swells.Want to feel less guilty about all the destruction? Have a fish sandwich at McDonald's-and maybe club a baby harp seal on the way. For the reasons, read Clover's sobering book, and adjust diet accordingly. (Kirkus Reviews)

Book Description

Now in paperback, this highly acclaimed book looks at the disastrous impact of overfishing, and how it will change your life --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the real Captain Birds Eye 2 Aug 2004
By A Customer
I first heard about this book on BBC Radio 4's 'Start The Week' where Andrew Marr described it as one of the few recent books that had left him feeling furious. Marr was spot on. This book sets out clearly the full ruthless horror that is industrial fishing and the irreversible damage it has been inflicting on the world's seas. How many of us know anything of modern fishing and still think of fishermen as quaint and harmless Captain Birds Eye? The seas and their increasingly desperate situation have gone largely unnoticed compared to land based farming and the state of our countryside. Hopefully this book will be a marine version of 'Silent Spring' and help bring about some form of solution. But as the book shows, solving this situation will be no easy task when faced with the comic nightmare that is the political, bureaucratic, commercial and scientific system trying to manage the seas and fishing. The book ends with a helpful guide to choosing which fish are okay to eat and those fish for which the situation is increasingly bleak and should therefore be avoided at all costs. The book is very accessible and written by the Daily Telegraph's environment editor. A must for anybody concerned with the state of our world's environment.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read with caution! 10 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Working for a fisheries enforcement agency, I found myself agreeing with most of what Mr Clover has written and would heartedly recommend it to those with an interest in the marine environment. Sadly, the narrative does wander and looses focus near the end. There are a few errors that pedants could pick up (claiming that Greenland Halibut is also known as Turbot for example) but there were two big points I disagreed with the author on. Firstly, he is very negative on the use of Satellite Monitoring in Fisheries Control, which has really become an effective tool over the last few years - sadly, UK courts will often disregard this and the views of expert witnesses. Secondly, he touts the use of Blue Whiting as a replacement for Cod. With ICES now calling for a ban on Blue Whiting fishing to the ludicrously high weights of fish caught (Norway alone have an individual quota of 1 million tons which is the total quota ICES have recommended!) This is another fishery we could well leave alone.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The title does not look firstly as tantalizing as what all these pages really contain. You should really take a look inside and you will very probably realize how good this book is.
The End Of Line is definitely one of the best non-fiction books I have bought in the last couple of years. Here you can read what is really happening in the oceans worldwide. People often do not care much for what they don't see, but the consequences of what they (we) are letting happen to the fish resources are terrible.
Mr. Clover explains in a very professional and passionate way the crimes (the word is not an exageration) commited by such countries as Spain and the rest of the European Union, by Japan and many others, in their pursuit of profit: depleting the fish resources of many poor countries, bribing and coercing the government of those countries to let them do what they want with the fish, hiding reports to the public opinion. What the EU is doing about controls is really a bad joke.
We consumers need to wake up. Yes, eating fish is good for your health. Now, if no radical change takes place in the way we are destroying the oceans' biological resources, we are going to be in real trouble in the future and the next generations more so.
This all sounds pretty dramatic and it really is.
Thanks, Mr. Clover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book made me cry 5 Feb 2009
After reading all the terrible waste and destruction so eloquently put I got to chapter 14 and actually wept proper full on man tears - what other non fiction book, especially one about fish would do that?

Amazing, an essential read for everyone on this planet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and informative 27 Jun 2010
By Zanga
I thought that Clover really got his teeth into the topic of the crisis of our fisheries. The book is packed full of hard hitting facts that are eloquently presented by a thoughtful writer.
I have to admit a certain bias that I work in fisheries management myself, and so already had a standing interest in the subject. However, even though the book is aimed at the general public I found plenty inside to keep me interested, despite the fact that I disagree strongly with his commendations that the European Union needs to privatise the sea if they are to be properly managed.

This aside I thought it was an excellent work of non-fiction. If you want to know more about the disastrous plight of wild marine life then look no further.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A convincing read 8 Jun 2010
I purchased this book last year and found it to be an excellent read. As a wannabe vegetarian who still eats seafood I found this book very good in helping me to identify those seafood products I should avoid from a sustainability perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarier than Stephen King. Changed my life 11 May 2010
... well at least my shopping habits. Every politician should read this. Hats off to an author who has managed to make a book on fishing exciting and illuminating rather than preachy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 25 July 2009
By vh1967 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot fault this book. I was a captive audience having already sympathised with the subject area, and I was not disappointed. It is well researched and not emotive. The author skill fully 'trawls' (pardon the pun) through the data without a fluffy bunny brigade mentality, and gives suggestions for how we can put the wrongs right. I came away feeling more knowledgeable whilst being more disillusioned about the future of fish. It made me think more about what fish I buy; I will be buying less fish like salmon which may be farmed but is fed with fish from the sea (read the book for more about this) and I will be looking on packs of fish for MSC status before giving sellers my money.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake-up call
This well researched and passionate book eloquently tells the story of how, in just a few decades, we managed to bring the oceans at the verge of ecological disaster. Read more
Published 2 months ago by RD
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for marine biology students or anyone concerned about the...
This book was recommended to me whilst studying marine biology. I read it from cover to cover over a few days. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chris
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
I agree with the message of this book,and it did provide a lot of relevant facts regarding the state of the oceans today. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kitty
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read and makes you think
This book is well written and the first few chapters are a really good read, and in many ways makes you think about what goes on that we neither see or often care about. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Buddha Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, if a little outdated
This was the first book I read on over-fishing and marine conservation, and I would recommend it if you want an outsiders view on the global fishing industry. Read more
Published 13 months ago by F. G. Lelliott
1.0 out of 5 stars Hysterically inaccurate doomsday scenario.
Sensationalism sells, as they say and it is an unfortunate reflection of the world today that despite that huge amount of research and data that is publicly available at the touch... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sardinius
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of the line - for what
This book may be described as a wake up call - one that many have already had.
It demonstrates clearly one or two of the main issues we face in even starting to get to grips... Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2010 by John P. Longfield
4.0 out of 5 stars A scary and eye-opening book
While I have seen the price of fish rise and rise over the years, going from humble food status to a virtual luxury, I had not realised it was due to such bad stock depletion. Read more
Published on 5 May 2010 by K. Maxwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Empty Vessels Make the Greatest Sound
This book is at best inadequate, at worst dangerous. While extolling the supposed virtues of the Icelandic system of individual tranferable quotas, which he suggests is conducive... Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2009 by Mr. R. S. Moxham
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlighting reading to understand where the fish you eat is coming from
I was sensitive to the marine environment issues. But this book explained how far I was to even imagine in how much trouble we are. Read more
Published on 10 Sep 2009 by Axelle Jorcin
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