Demon Fish

Juliet Eilperin / Pantheon / 320 pages

As the world is starting to open its eyes to the impacts of over-fishing and over-exploitation of the ocean’s resources, Juliet Eilperin has authored a superb chronology of humankind’s cultural association with sharks. Her book—appropriately titled Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks—captures the emotions of fear, respect and awe that have prompted the human perspective on sharks to evolve from that of “sharks as semi-gods” to that of “sharks as moneymaking commodities.” Eilperin articulates how modern attitudes have resulted in lucrative industry ventures, from shark-finning for shark fin soup to shark sport-fishing off the US coastlines. These activities threaten to devastate entire populations of shark species that pre-date human existence by about 400 million years. While offering a somewhat bleak outlook for the future of sharks, Eilperin also shares heartwarming success stories of many selfless individuals and organizations that have dedicated their efforts to making a positive impact on shark conservation through their actions, advocacy, and awareness campaigns.

—Rob Tomiak, P.E., contributing author