Read This Book: Eye of the Shoal by Helen Scales

The average seafloor is about 12,000 feet below the surface. That’s 90 to 99% of Earth’s livable space, underwater. Diving even deep into the biosphere, Helen Scales’ Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatchers Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything (Bloomsbury Sigma 2018) showcases a side of life most people have and never will see.

Credit: Helen Scales

Over 3,000 feet below the surface is the twilight zone, the part of the ocean that gets just a sliver of sunlight. This murky blackness plays host to a surprising amount of life: trillions of bristlemouths and lanternfish—yes, the Finding Nemo kind. Just for reference, there are 24 billion domestic chickens alive today.

Total fishing catch numbers have declined steadily at 2% per year over the last 30 years, but that’s not because we’re fishing less. It’s because the fish are running out: In fact, in 1996, scientists at the University of British Columbia declared that the world had reached peak fish.

Bottom line: Eye of the Shoal is packed with genuine excitement for underwater life, despite the challenges imposed by humankind. Readers, don’t forget to come up for air.

Matthew writes Sentient Today and is a reporter with Sentient Media.

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