"World Without Fish" by Mark Kurlansky, Chapters 2-4

In this book, Mark Kurlansky explores threats to the world's oceans and fish populations and describes ways that young people can support sustainable fishing.

Here are links to our lists for the book: Introduction and Chapter 1, Chapters 2-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-11

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. industry
    the action of making of goods and services for sale
    Chapter Two: Being the true story of how humans first began to fish and how fishing became an industry
  2. moderate
    being within reasonable or average limits
    When the destruction of fish was moderate, the impact was moderate, and the small adjustments made by nature usually were not even noticed.
  3. prosperous
    very lively and profitable
    But they understood that the secret of their game was to catch as many fish as they could while still maintaining a prosperous fish population in their fishing grounds.
  4. migratory
    (of animals) moving seasonally
    Until modern times, fishermen and fishing communities worried most about migratory fish.
  5. patent
    obtain a document granting sole rights to an invention
    Thomas Savery, an English military engineer and inventor, patented the first steam engine in 1698.
  6. innovative
    being like nothing done or experienced or created before
    Fishermen tend to be problem solvers by nature, and until there is a problem to solve, they are not particularly interested in new technology (although once there is a problem to solve, they can be extremely innovative).
  7. territory
    a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
    Throughout history, these nations competed with one another for fish and fishing territories.
  8. indiscriminate
    not marked by fine distinctions
    In 1376, they petitioned the British Parliament to pass a law banning their use because the nets swept up fish indiscriminately, taking many immature young fish.
  9. premier
    first in rank or degree
    Because it was a large port, capable of storing ice from not-too-distant Norway (ice was essential for keeping fish fresh on its way to market), the port of Grimsby became a premier port for quality fish in London.
  10. technological
    based in scientific and industrial progress
    Dragging nets from engine-powered (as opposed to wind-powered) ships was a huge technological boon for the fishermen, especially because they could then use the rail line at Grimsby to get the fish to London rapidly.
  11. lucrative
    producing a sizeable profit
    Even though steam-powered vessels had been around for almost eighty years, and were proving to be lucrative for the fishermen that used them, by the 1870s most fishermen were still using sailing power.
  12. convene
    call together
    From the late 1870s on, the English regularly convened commissions aimed at curbing the destruction caused by trawlers.
  13. commission
    a special group delegated to consider some matter
    From the late 1870s on, the English regularly convened commissions aimed at curbing the destruction caused by trawlers.
  14. immature
    not yet fully developed
    ..."the continued operation of these trawlers scraping over the fishing grounds and destroying countless numbers of young and immature fish, is the greatest menace to the future of the fisheries, the greatest danger the fisheries have ever faced along this coast."
  15. menace
    something that is a source of danger
    ..."the continued operation of these trawlers scraping over the fishing grounds and destroying countless numbers of young and immature fish, is the greatest menace to the future of the fisheries, the greatest danger the fisheries have ever faced along this coast."
  16. inception
    an event that is a beginning
    The inception of what is believed will result in a strong and mighty protest of the fishing and vessel owning interests of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts against the use of the otter and beam trawl took place at the rooms of the Master Mariners Association yesterday afternoon...
  17. prohibitive
    tending to discourage, especially of prices
    ...the association went on record as condemning as strongly as possible this method of fishing and appointing a committee to take up active work of crystalizing the feeling among master mariners, fishermen and fishing vessel owners at any and every possible port and later urge governmental action in the shape of prohibitive legislation.
  18. obviate
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    The article claimed the "wasteful destruction of immature fish," was one of the primary problems and that this destruction "cannot be obviated by regulating the size of the mesh nor by returning the undersized fish caught to the sea."
  19. feasible
    capable of being done with means at hand
    The article concluded—as American and European regulators have only recently come to understand—that "the only feasible method is to close off fishing grounds or prohibit the landing of fish."
  20. radiate
    send out rays or waves
    Where naval ships had been chasing submarines underwater, now fishermen could chase fish underwater using similar methods: small airplanes could be sent out to find the schools of fish, and sonar—sound that radiated and bounced off of objects, which it then identified—could also be used to find fish.
  21. habitat
    the type of environment in which an organism normally lives
    Fishermen could hunt down fish as they hid between rocks because there was literally nowhere left for fish to hide, and fishermen could do it faster than ever with the gas-powered trawlers, tearing up the bottom as they went, completely changing the ocean habitat forever.
  22. reef
    a submerged ridge of rock or coral near the water's surface
    Wait until you see all the colorful fish that live in the coral reef, Ailat!
  23. cautionary
    serving to warn
    Chapter Three: Being the sad, cautionary tale of the orange roughy
  24. stimulate
    cause to occur rapidly
    The area becomes rich in nitrates, which stimulates the growth of plankton.
  25. photosynthesis
    synthesis of compounds in plants aided by radiant energy
    Like land-based plants, they are green because they are filled with a substance called chlorophyll, which uses energy from sunlight to create sugars for food, which in turn creates oxygen. This process, sustains plant life on earth, is called photosynthesis.
  26. microscopic
    so small as to be invisible without a magnifying device
    Zooplankton range in size from microscopic to almost eight inches.
  27. crustacean
    mainly aquatic arthropod usually having a segmented body
    Some zooplankton are actually larvae that eventually change into worms, mollusks, crustaceans, coral, and even some types of fish.
  28. constitute
    form or compose
    These are slow, steady hunters who stay close to home and whose muscles constitute the white meat that most people prefer to eat.
  29. ecosystem
    organisms interacting with their physical environment
    A healthy ecosystem is based on the destruction of life and the struggles for survival among species, and it is in such systems that men in the form of fishermen are drawn to take part in the killing
  30. offspring
    any immature animal
    The fish doesn't even become capable of producing offspring until it is twenty years old, which would be an older fish in most of the species we know.
  31. misconception
    an incorrect assumption
    One of mankind's most enduring misconceptions is that of nature's bounty.
  32. indestructible
    not easily ruined
    That's the belief that nature is such a powerful force that it is indestructible.
  33. exterminate
    kill on a large scale
    About 150 years later, a book called A Cyclopedia of Commerce and Commercial Navigation tried to verify Leeuwenhoek's findings and concluded that the egg count was "a number that will baffle all the efforts of man to exterminate."
  34. posthumously
    after death
    And celebrated French novelist Alexander Dumas wrote in his spectacularly incorrect food encyclopedia, Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, published posthumously in 1873: "It has been calculated that if no accident prevented the hatching of the eggs and each egg reached maturity, it would take only three years to fill the seas so that you could walk across the Atlantic dryshod on the backs of cod."
  35. anatomy
    the study of the structure of animals
    Huxley greatly contributed to understanding of the anatomy of animals.
  36. staunch
    firm and dependable especially in loyalty
    He was a staunch supporter of Darwin's theory of evolution.
  37. descendant
    a person considered as coming from some ancestor or race
    He was also the first to suggest that birds are the modern descendants of dinosaurs, a view widely held today.
  38. avocation
    an auxiliary activity
    They stated that "fisherman, as a class, are exceedingly unobservant of anything about fish which is not absolutely forced upon them by their daily avocations," which established the very harmful tradition of showing contempt for the knowledge fishermen acquire through experience.
  39. preservation
    the activity of protecting something from loss or danger
    The fact is that fisherman need to know almost everything about fish in order to do a good job of catching them, and no one has a deeper involvement in or greater concern for the preservation of fish populations.
  40. diminution
    change toward something smaller or lower
    "Any tendency to over-fishing will meet with its natural check in the diminution of the supply....in other words, we would realize we were overfishing by the simple fact that we were hauling in fewer fish."

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