The best books about saving the oceans

The Books I Picked & Why

Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish

By G. Bruce Knecht

Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish

Why this book?

If you’ve ever considered eating “sustainably” fished seafood, this book will open your eyes to the fact that there is no such thing as truly sustainable fishing. Through stories of modern-day, high-seas piracy, you’ll get a better understanding of how rogue fishing vessels will go anywhere, legal or otherwise, to make a profit. And that one of many reasons why fish species are in great decline everywhere. But this is a demand-driven problem, which means we all have a role to play in solving it.


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My Last Continent

By Midge Raymond

My Last Continent

Why this book?

Few novels capture the thrills and the dangers of living in Antarctica amidst penguins, icebergs, and tourist vessels. Midge Raymond (who is my partner) has written a powerful novel that is more than just a romance between researchers, it is a cautionary tale about the precariousness of our world. For anyone considering (or dreaming) of a cruise to Antarctica, this is a must-read novel.


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What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

By Jonathan Balcombe

What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Why this book?

I was raised to think fish do not feel pain. When I hooked my first fish, a rock bass, as a young boy, I was initially proud of my catch. But when I went to carve the fish and felt the eyes looking up at me, I experienced very different feelings: guilt and regret. It turns out that, so many years later, scientists are telling us that fish do feel pain, that they are highly intelligent in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. Hopefully, this book will open eyes and hearts and convince people that seafood is not just unsustainable but cruel.


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Float: A Novel

By JoeAnn Hart

Float: A Novel

Why this book?

A wry tale of financial desperation, conceptual art, insanity, infertility, seagulls, marital crisis, jellyfish, organized crime, and the plight of a plastic-filled ocean, JoeAnn Hart’s novel takes a smart, satirical look at family, the environment, and life in a hardscrabble seaside town in Maine. I am proud that Ashland Creek Press (which Midge Raymond and I founded in 2011) published this amazing novel.


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The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals

By Peter Heller

The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals

Why this book?

Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Society, inspired the character of Aeneus in The Tourist Trail. This book was my introduction to Paul and his colleagues and the passions they share for the oceans and their residents. If you’ve watched the TV series Whale Wars then you are already familiar with the risks these volunteers take to protect whales and so many other species. Paul Watson has also written a number of books that are worth reading. Learn more at Sea Shepherd.


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