Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization by Brian Fagan - review by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Glory Be to Cod

Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization


Yale University Press 346pp £25 order from our bookshop

The sea will save us. We have hardly begun to exploit, or corrupt, the Earth’s vast reservoir of resources. Seawater, desalinated by filtration, will refresh dehydrated humanity. Sea will replace soil for farming; aquaculture will succeed agriculture. When and if we run out of space for fish production, we will eat the planet’s one effectively inexhaustible food source: the heirs of Mary Berry and Auguste Escoffier will offer recipes for plankton.

The sea, alongside other fish-filled waters, is the last frontier of the hunt. It has taken ten millennia of farming and herding to make wild food almost obsolete on land – the preserve of arcane mycologists, good-life freaks and a handful of foraging peoples who are still trying to elude

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