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Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World's Coasts and Beneath… (1998)

by Carl Safina

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1874129,754 (4.48)5
Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author's exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea's abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world's changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
This incredible book is a searing look at humanity's attitude towards the formerly inexhaustible sea, and I will never be the same after reading it. Parts made me cry hard enough I got a headache. More than once I thought suicide might be a reasonable alternative to using up more of our resources.

I had to put it down and read hopeful things in between chapters, but I also was compelled to return. It's a little dated (published in 1997). I hoped, reading it, that some of what the scientists at the various front lines were telling Safina would have percolated into the nonscientific community and been acted upon. I Googled around some, looking for hopeful trends. And was not encouraged. It was interesting and disheartening to be reading the section in Safina's book about the Northwest's salmon annihilation while seeing daily reports in the Oregonian which said basically the same thing, only worse. Where Safina held out some hope that if we acted quickly the salmon runs might be salvaged, my newspaper ten years on is much less sanguine.

Setting aside the content, which is presented clearly and unsentimentally, I was blown away by Safina's excellent writing. His voice is crystalline, sharp as a scalpel, and lyrical. He's also hilarious, even in the face of bleak ruin.

Highly recommended. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Safina's writing is adept at presenting the various stakeholder views associated with the management of fisheries in North America and the Pacific. He is able to understand the various perspectives as he is both a fisherman and conservationist. This helps him to articulate the social, economic and environmental complexities of managing fisheries.

The book studies three distinct fisheries - the Northern Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, the Pacific Salmon in North West America, and the reefs of the Phillipines/Indonesia. Much of the writing comes from his interactions with commercial fisherman, environmentalists, loggers, farmers, and scientists.

Safina is passionate but not dogmatic. It is primarily for this reason that the book works. If you are interested in the state of global fisheries, but want something more than a rant and references to policy documents, then this is the book for you.

I find Safina's writing much more accessible than Richard Ellis' work.
( )
  kenno82 | Aug 9, 2011 |
An engaging read about the wonders of the oceans—and the crisis in marine environments. ( )
  isetziol | Sep 25, 2008 |
Full review: ( http://bachlab.balbach.net/coolread4.html#bluesong ) in summary: wide ranging multi-genre passionate examination of ocean conservation issues. It would be a classic but much of the material is already dated, yet beautifully illuminates how complex and contradictory the issues are. ( )
  Stbalbach | Aug 25, 2007 |
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Part odyssey, part pilgrimage, this epic personal narrative follows the author's exploration of coasts, islands, reefs, and the sea's abyssal depths. Scientist and fisherman Carl Safina takes readers on a global journey of discovery, probing for truth about the world's changing seas, deftly weaving adventure, science, and political analysis.

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