A sport fisherman's search for his game provides the backdrop to this exploration of the damage to the ocean's fish and animal stocks caused by large-scale commercial fishing operations.
Rigney, a member of the International Game Fish Association, debuts with this personal investigation into the decline of big-game fish like marlin, swordfish and bluefin tuna. His travels took him to the Mediterranean, Japan, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Georges Bank off Nova Scotia, the Great Barrier Reef, and New Zealand. Occasionally fishing along the way, the author sought those whose love for the ocean and its creatures mirrored his own. Everywhere he traveled he discovered a similar story: Corporations entered an area, manipulated or ignored government regulations, and, using long lines and huge nets, laid waste to massive populations of sea creatures. Rigney documents the hideous collateral damage to what is called “by-catch”—in some parts of the world, five pounds of turtle, sea lion, porpoise and whale are killed and thrown back for every pound of shrimp caught. Mexico's Sea of Cortes, long a preserve for sport fishermen, has opened up to destructive long-line fishing. Rigney fished for swordfish in the fished-out waters of the northern Atlantic and visited Tokyo's fish market, which handles up to 10 percent of the world's catch each day. There he learned about the Atlantic bluefin tuna, whose Mediterranean breeding grounds have been pillaged for two decades. The author is afraid that the bluefin has gone the same way as the cod and the Atlantic salmon. In Australia, he met with people working on breeding bluefin tuna in captivity; a final swordfish hunt in New Zealand encapsulates his passion for the freedom and wildness of the ocean.
A dramatic account that will appeal to the sportsman and conservationist alike.