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  • Lament for an Ocean
  • Written by Michael Harris
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781551994765
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Lament for an Ocean

The Collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery

Written by Michael HarrisAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Harris


List Price: $10.99


On Sale: July 09, 2013
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-1-55199-476-5
Published by : McClelland & Stewart McClelland & Stewart
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The northern cod have been almost wiped out. Once the most plentiful fish on the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland, the cod is now on the brink of extinction, and tens of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada have been left without work by a 1992 moratorium on fishing the stock. Today, the Pacific salmon stocks are in similar trouble – victims of the same blind, stupid greed.

Angry, accusatory fingers have been pointed at various possible culprits for the collapse of the cod – at the Spanish and Portuguese, who for hundreds of years sent ever-bigger fleets to the Grand Banks; at the factory-freezer trawlers, which “vacuumed” the ocean floor for the prized fish; at those inshore fishermen who circumvented the rules governing the fishery; at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is responsible for managing the fishery; at the harp seal, the cod’s competitor for food, whose numbers have exploded in recent years; even at Nature, for lowering the temperature of the ocean.

In Lament for an Ocean, the award-winning true-crime writer Michael Harris investigates the real causes of the most wanton destruction of a natural resource in North American history since the buffalo were wiped off the face of the prairies. The story he carefully unfolds is the sorry tale of how, despite the repeated and urgent warnings of ocean scientists, the northern cod was ruthlessly exploited.

From the Hardcover edition.
Michael Harris

About Michael Harris

Michael Harris - Lament for an Ocean

A graduate of York University and a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, Michael Harris began his career in journalism at CBC television where he became the host of The Harris Report, an investigative and current affairs show. He worked for the Globe and Mail as Atlantic Bureau Chief and later as a senior parliamentary correspondent based in the Ottawa Bureau.

Michael was founding publisher and editor-in-chief of The Sunday Express, the newspaper that broke the story of the abuse of  boys at Mount Cashel orphanage, and exposed the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco that cost Newfoundland $30 million. He later became Executive Director of News and Current Affairs at the Newfoundland Broadcasting Corporation, an affiliate of CTV. While with NBC he wrote and produced two award winning documentaries: Unholy Orders was shown on the CTV and PBS networks and won a silver medal for the best news documentary at the New York Festivals. Vanishing Point, about the collapse of the Atlantic cod stocks, won a silver Canpro award. After a period as National Affairs Columnist for the Sun News Service, he joined CFRA radio in 2000 to host Michael Harris Live.

Michael has written eight books; and has received several awards for journalism including a Radio and TV news director’s award, the Center for Investigative Journalism Award, and  two Michener Awards (honourable mention).  Justice Denied: The Law Versus Donald Marshall, led to the Royal Commission on  Marshall’s  wrongful conviction. Unholy Orders: the Tragedy at Mount Cashel, won Book of the Year from the Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters, and helped expose similar abuses in the US, Australia, and most recently Ireland. Rare Ambition: the Crosbies of Newfoundland, was FACL Book of the Year and APBA Booksellers Choice Award as well as TORGI Talking Book of the Year. The Prodigal Husband: the Tragedy of Helmuth and Hanna Buxbaum, won the Arthur Ellis Award for the best true crime book in Canada. Three of Michael’s books have been made into movies, including  The Judas Kiss: The Undercover Life of Patrick Kelly,  which became the basis of an Alliance Atlantis movie starring Paul Gross. (Michael played a cameo role as a TV talk show host in the movie.) Lament for an Ocean: The Collapse of the Atlantic Cod Fishery was short listed for the Donner prize for best book on Canadian Public policy. 

Michael’s work has sparked four Royal Commissions of inquiry and he was named to the Task Force on the Reform of Correctional Services in Ontario, after his book Con Game: The  Truth about Canada’s Prisons was published. He has also written magazine articles, several television screenplays, and a children’s book called A Forest for Christmas.
Michael has been a judge for the Governor General Awards for non-fiction as well as for publishing grants and the National Magazine Awards. He has hosted The Great Canadian Debate on the CTV network show Sunday Edition, as well as the series Cold War and Literati on PBS; and has made guest appearances on Oprah and Donahue to discuss his books. 

Michael has given numerous keynote addresses including to the Dalhousie Law School and the National Association of Police Chiefs. He holds the Confederation medal and the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Commemorative medal. In the fall of 2009 he assumed the Irving Chair in Journalism at St. Thomas University, and broadcast his show live from the university. Michael was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by Memorial University at their Fall 2009 Convocation for what the university describes as his “unceasing pursuit of justice for the less fortunate among us.”     



“The definitive book on the cod catastrophe. After reading this book, you wouldn’t trust the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with your aquarium.”
–Elizabeth May, Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada

“[This] isn’t the first book about the collapse of Canada’s East Coast fishery. It won’t be the last. But it is the one you must read to understand how this tragic – and tragically unnecessary – political, social, environmental, and ecological disaster actually happened.”
Halifax Daily News

From the Hardcover edition.

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