276 pages, colour photos
When author Jeff Rotman began his adventures as an underwater photographer more than 40 years ago, he relished the beauty of the deep sea and the thrill of the hunt. A member of an elite group of photographers, he has captured iconic photographs of sharks and other creatures of the deep that can be seen in National Geographic as well as the Discovery Channel's Shark Week television series.
Rotman's passion for photographing marine life took a dramatic turn when he found a pile of sharks at the bottom of the sea stripped of their fins and left to die by rogue fisherman. The Last Fisherman documents the catastrophic changes in ocean wildlife and the people whose lives depend on hunting it. Rotman has witnessed the near commercial collapse of cod fisheries in the North Atlantic and the growth of illegal poaching in the protected waters of Cocos Island which threatens this fragile ecosystem long admired by divers for the shark and ray populations. His journey mirrors our view of the oceans as places of wonder, to the fragile hunting grounds they are today.
In his introduction, marine biologist Les Kaufman discusses how the "emptying out of the oceans" has progressed over time. But he also includes stories of hope as scientists, fisherman – and observers like Jeff Rotman – come to agree that the time is now for a new approach to the most fundamental of human activities, finding sustenance in the water around us.
"Otherworldly stunning [...] Wow."
– Chicago Tribune
"Rotman [...] transform[s] information about the catastrophic changes in the ocean into a pognant personal narrative [...] This book is not only a treasure to be cherished by nature enthusiasts but also an intriguing resource that ought to make its way into science classrooms."
– Publisher's Weekly
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Jeffrey L. Rotman is one of the world's leading underwater photographers. His award-winning work has been featured on television as well as in National Geographic, Life, Time, Smithsonian, Natural History, and The New York Times Magazine, and in many other publications. Rotman is the author of numerous books, including Shark! and Underwater Eden: 365 Days.
Yair Harel is an author of books and materials on popular science. Harel, also a diver, lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Les Kaufman is professor of marine biology at Boston University. Kaufman is also marine conservation fellow for Conservation International and research scholar at the New England Aquarium. He won the Parker Gentry Award for Conservation Biology in 2011 and recently received a MacArthur grant.