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Resources and environment in Asia's marine section edited by J.B. Marsh Taylor and Francis New York 1992. xxvii + 457pp. Price 68.00. ISBN 0 8448 1708 2

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AQUATIC CONSERVATION: MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, VOL. 2, 363-364 (1992)
BOOK REVIEWS
RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT IN ASIA’S
MARINE SECTION, edited by J.B. Marsh, Taylor and
Francis, New York, 1992. xxvii + 457pp. Price: f68.00.
ISBN 0 8448 1708 2
This book is the outcome of a conference held at the
National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan in 1988. Not
all the papers at the conference are presented; rather the
editor organized the speakers into common interest
groups so that they could write chapters which synthesized
and integrated their separate experiences and views. The
book aims to describe the economics of the ocean, its
productivity, its management and its future. It is divided
into six parts: an overview of Pacific fisheries; problems
and issues of Pacific fisheries; coastal aquaculture and
marine ranching; marines mineral development; shipping
and sea lanes; and finally, marine pollution.
Each of these sections could well have formed the
subject of a separate text. They bear little, if any,
relationship with each other and there is no attempt to
integrate the separate chapters within each section or
make cross references between the sections. Having
said this the text does contain much information of use
when attempting to identify trends or common elements
amongst disparate national practices. Further, since the
nations of this part of the world form a socio-economic
continuum from the very poorest t o the most sophisticated, descriptions of the status quo in a range of
situations is useful for it allows an understanding of what
is possible at each level and how to make advances
without making the mistakes of others. Thus, legislators
should be able to use the material to make proposals
which are enforceable and economists devise industries
which will be self-sustaining and capable of further
development.
The chapters are very variable, some are full of facts
and examples which support robust texts. A few are just
full of rather unconnected facts and far too many are so
nebulously theoretical that they are of little practical
value. I suspect that this is a consequence of obliging
authors merging their papers when in fact their original
material had little in common, a situation made worse
since many of these co-authors never met face to face.
The first half of the book deals with fisheries. It covers
the whole range: coastal water artisanal fisheries; distant
water fisheries; fisheries within the Exclusive Economic
Zones (EEZs); oceanic pelagic fisheries and coastal aquacultures. The treatment is generally descriptive with case
histories providing quantitative examples and gives a good
overview of the economic forces together with the political
1052-7613/92/040363-02$06.00
01992 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
and sociological constraints which have moulded the
industries and continue to shape their development. The
declaration of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones
has been a major force in changing the economics of
several large fishing nations. How they have done this
by exploiting alternative fisheries, changing their technologies or entering into joint ventures with countries which
do not have the infrastructure to support major fishing
fleets is well explained. Unfortunately the publication
date lags some five years behind the time frame of
the information given at the original conference, so the
picture painted is somewhat historic. Nevertheless,
the complexities of the industry are well explained and show
how complicated are the issues surrounding such problems
as over fishing of tuna fish, habitat destruction by low
technology fishing, and the accidental killing of dolphins
by drift nets. Further it shows how simplistic solutions
to these problems can cause profound socio-economic
impacts which are not easily solved politically.
The next section of the book deals with non-living
resources: minerals and shipping. The minerals considered
are the non-fuel minerals in the China Seas. These include
tin, salt, sand and gravel with the last two rather surprisingly forming one quarter of the total world extractions.
The treatment is very thorough; the conclusion is that
though near shore minerals will be worth extracting, the
potential revenue from far shore reserves precludes their
exploitation. Shipping lanes are also seen as a resource
and the economic consequences of placing a toll on the
straights of Malacca and Lombok is analysed in detail.
The final section of the book deals with marine
pollution. The chapters here cover very different aspects
of pollution. It is refreshing to see that an economic
approach is taken. For far too long ecologists and
conservationists have raised hysterical alarm and outrage
which can simply be countered with the phrase, ‘So
what?’. Converting environmental impacts into impacts
on profit will certainly have more success in making
polluters and governments change their working practices
and policies. The chapter dealing with Economic Damage
Assessment appears all right in theory, but only assesses
objectively quantifiable damage which has an identifiable
financial impact. Such things as beauty, loss of species
diversity or extinction are not assessed because the quality
of life is unquantifiable in terms of hard cash. The section
on trace metals is only of use in so far as it demonstrated
the use of hard corals as recorders of zinc pollution. The
final two chapters show how pollution produced by one
industry can inhibit the development of others and while
the polluting industry may be making a profit the overall
364
BOOK REVIEWS
effect on a country may be inhibition of economic growth.
This is well illustrated by case histories for tin mining and
tourism in Thailand and logging and fishing together with
tourism in the Philippines.
Overall, the text is well illustrated and presented. It is
a brave attempt to gather together information about a
disparate set of resources, but it is not a book for the
specialist. However, it well deserves t o be on college
library shelves for it has useful summaries and data
which interdisciplinary environmental scientists will find
invaluable.
B. HANSON
Water Policy Group,
Environmental Protection Department,
Hong Kong Government
EUTROPHICATION
OF
FRESHWATERS,
PRINCIPLES, PROBLEMS AND RESTORATION,
David Harper, Chapman and Hall, London, 1992. viii
+ 327pp. Price: f35.00. ISBN 0412 32970 0
The publication of this book is very timely since, with
the implementation of the EC Urban Wastewater
Treatment Directive and the Nitrate Directive, eutrophication will become a major issue for the water
industry in the UK. The contents of the book are pitched
at an appropriate level for the competent chemist or
biologist who wishes to extend his knowledge into what
has been a confused field, complicated by conflicting
definitions.
Chapter 1 deals with the question ‘What is Eutrophication?’ and provides an essential solid base on which
to build understanding. Chapters 2 and 3 cover the
nutrients that cause eutrophication, their sources and
the manifestation of the effects, all in a clear and logical
succession and with good diagrammatic representations
of complex processes. Chapter 4 deals with the biological
effects of eutrophication and Chapter 5 with the
engineering, economic and social effects of eutrophication, albeit as an account of a few examples
rather than a comprehensive review. Chapter 6 deals in
rather more depth with the prediction and modelling of
the eutropic process and provides a good lead into a
subject of considerable complexity on which much has
already been written and which is the focus of intense
research activity worldwide. The book moves towards a
conclusion by discussing and illustrating the reduction of
causes and the management of effects mainly in lakes and
with special emphasis on the Norfolk Broads. With the
growing interest in eutrophication problems in rivers,
estuaries and coastal waters it would be interesting if more
attention had been devoted to these areas. Nonetheless
the author is to be congratulated on producing a very
readable book based on classical research and practical
experience and it is recommended as r :ood introduction
to the subject, especially for those WLI some experience
in the water industry, or management of the aquatic
environment.
The references provided (more than 700) are particularly valuabale as a source of further reading and
compensate in full for the inevitable selectivity of
illustrative material embodied in the text. The diagrams
become more complex and difficult to interpret as one
progresses and it is tempting to enquire whether the oft
repeated and somewhat irritating ‘modified, with
permission’ has in every case improved their clarity.
However, it is not the reviewer’s intent to pick
over minor details of presentation and, at a cost of f35,
the verdict of ‘good book-well worth reading’ stands.
DAVID
MACKAY
North East River Purification Board, Aberdeen, UK
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environment, francis, xxvii, 457pp, 1992, isbn, section, price, mars, new, york, taylor, resource, 1708, edited, 8448, asia, marina
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