Callum Roberts is a professor of marine conservation at the University of York in England and author of the 2007 book “The Unnatural History of the Sea.” His second book, “The Ocean of Life”, was published this spring. Oceana asked Roberts about the new book and why we need a “New Deal” for the oceans. This Q&A is from the new issue of Oceana magazine.
How does the Ocean of Life differ from your first book, "The Unnatural History of the Sea"?
“The Unnatural History of the Sea” is about how 1,000 years of hunting and fishing have changed the oceans. It is a voyage through time and around the world in which I let eye witnesses tell their stories of discovery, plunder, glory and heartbreak, and in doing so let us see the oceans in a new light, as if for the first time. “The Ocean of Life” is painted on a bigger canvas. In it I go back to the very beginning in an effort to answer questions like, where did the oceans come from, what were they like before the Cambrian explosion of larger life, who were the first seafood lovers and where did they live? Although I cover the long history of fishing, it is by way of prelude to an exploration of the many other ways in which we are changing the oceans. Almost without noticing it and within my lifetime, humanity has gained dominion over the sea.
What's the most surprising thing you learned about the oceans while researching and writing "The Ocean of Life"?
Probably the most startling and troubling thing I learned, when I drew together the many intertwining strands of our influence, is that the oceans are changing faster today and in more ways than in all of human history. In fact, we may have to go all the way back to the planetary cataclysm that ended the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago to find a more rapid transformation of the sea.
The new issue of Oceana magazine is hot off the press! In this issue, you’ll learn about our latest news and victories, and lots more, including:
*Profiles of our 2011 Ocean Heroes, shark-loving Sophi Bromenshenkel and sea lion-rescuing Peter Wallerstein
*A thought-provoking Q&A with environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
*The lowdown on our new campaign to combat Seafood Fraud
*A report on this summer’s expedition in the icy Baltic Sea
*Photos from our recent events: Hamptons Splash, Christie’s Green Auction and World Oceans Day
Check it out and pass it on!
The new issue of the Oceana magazine features a Q&A with author Paul Greenberg, whose book Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, has won praise from conservationists and foodies alike. Greenberg also wrote several guest blogs posts for us in the fall. Needless to say, we are big fans. You'll see why:
Why salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna?
Salmon, usually farmed Atlantic salmon, is like the corn of the sea, grown on every continent now, save Antarctica, even though it historically never lived south of the equator.
Sea bass, that catch-all name that describes so many fish, has become the market niche of the white, meaty fish. The name "bass" itself is a cover for a troubling fish swapping game where we progressively replace depleted species with new ones and give them the same name so that consumers don't notice the swap.
Similarly, cod represents an even more massive example of fish swapping. Only with cod, you're talking about the swapping of literally billions of pounds of fish for a whole array of both farmed and wild fish that fill a similar flesh niche.
The winter issue of the Oceana magazine is now online for your reading pleasure!
* Visit lovely Punta de Choros, Chile, where we recently achieved a dramatic victory in stopping the construction of a coal-fired power plant.
* Sail into the Gulf of Mexico with the Oceana Latitude expedition.
* Explore Chile’s Sala y Gomez Island, whose waters were recently declared a no-take zone after our preliminary expedition there.
* Dive in with actress January Jones in her second trip with Oceana to swim with sharks. This time? The majestic whale shark.
*An interview with Oceana’s Pacific Science Director and oil pollution expert, Jeff Short
*Do you know where your seafood comes from? Digging into the confusing (and sometimes sickening) question of seafood traceability in the U.S.
*A photo essay capturing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill
Read all of these and more in the full issue.
The new issue of the Oceana Magazine has arrived!
This issue features news from the Gulf, including an in-depth look at the dangers of offshore drilling. The magazine also explores offshore wind as a source of clean, safe, sustainable energy.
Also included: updated news on the status of loggerhead sea turtles, and the latest happenings in our newest office in Belize, plus a profile of "Top Chef" finalist Bryan Voltaggio. Chef Voltaggio even gave us the recipe for one of his favorite sustainable fish dinners so you can make it at home!
Check out the magazine for more Oceana goodies.