Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know - Ray Hilborn

Released April 2012

Oxford University Press

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know takes a hard look at the fishing industry and people's consumption of fish today. It's not a secret that many fish are no longer thriving. Cod is one fish that is usually mentioned by the media about having dwindling numbers and being overfished. People turn to fish like tilapia in hopes of finding a new source of white fish that is in abundant quantities.

The decline in fish populations is something I've grown up being extremely aware of. My grandfather was a North Sea fisherman. Decades ago, monkfish was known as "trash fish" and people refused to eat it. Some fishermen would throw them overboard or trash them, my grandfather would bring them home to his wife and daughter knowing the meat in the tail was boneless and incredibly tasty. Fast forward a couple decades and now I find it virtually impossible to find monkfish in stores and on the rare occasion I do it's well over $10 a pound. After WWII, larger commercial fishing ships rigged with trawlers entered the North Sea making it harder for the smaller fishing boats to take in a decent haul and destroying the sea floor. It was something that always concerned my grandfather. It's stories like these that I'll never forget.

In Overfishing: What You Need to Know, author Ray Hilborn discusses what overfishing is and if it's possible to eat fish, proven to be extremely beneficial to many organs, without depleting the different species. The author sets up the book by asking a question and then answering that question using research and interviews. He also discusses some of the fish on the verge of extinction and steps that are being taken to saving them. Orange roughy is one of the fish he discusses. I admit, I've only had orange roughy once in my life and that was back in the 80s. It's another fish that is virtually impossible to find now.

If you're interested in learning more about the dangers of overfishing and what is being done to save many fish species, Overfishing: What You Need to Know is an exceptional resource.


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