The Outlaw Ocean represents a four-year project, built on a series of deeply reported features for The New York Times that brought Ian Urbina from the Antarctic to Somalia — but most of it takes place in the impenetrable vastness of the high seas, a region that begins 13 miles from shore.
Each chapter tells a different story, in locations ranging from the City of Lights, a glowing patch of the Atlantic where hundreds of poachers shine light into the water to catch squid, to unmarked pirate ships and even cruise ships, which Urbina calls “a kind of gentrification of the ocean,” said Blair Braverman in a review for The Times.
He said: “There is no clear solution to the ocean’s problems because our entire world — our economic system, our geography — is the cause. I’d always assumed the greatest threat to the ocean was the greed of the rich, but in fact it’s the desperation of the poor, which is, of course, the flip side of the same coin.”
Braverman added: “As long as there is desperation, there will be exploitation. And people, good and bad, will always be able to use the ocean to disappear.”