The biography of Daniel Pauly, one of the most influential fisheries scientists of all times, recently came out in English and I was indeed looking forward to taking it in my hands and diving into it. Not only because I know and admire Daniel and his work, but also because I was curious to see how David Grémillet managed to bring together all the aspects of Daniel’s multifaceted personality, work, and personal history. I met David in the Philippines in 2017 when he was still doing his thorough research for the book, in a difficult but exciting phase of this fascinating journey. I was already excited, but knew I had to wait for some time, not just for the project to end, but also because the original version of the book was being written in French and … je ne parle pas français.
Four years later, I can say that it was absolutely worth the wait! The book was an absolute page-turner. Engaging, inspiring, emotional, motivating, powerful! The incredible life story of an inspiring man thoroughly investigated and beautifully written by David Grémillet. It took me less than a week to finish – and I’m usually a quite slow reader – and kept me up late at night (one more page and I’m done – ok, maybe one more – now, this is the last one for tonight). If you already know Daniel, your respect and awe for him will grow even more with every page you read. And if not, prepare to be amazed!
The book starts with Daniel as a child and unravels his heartbreaking personal story growing up to become the curious, well-read and well-traveled, hard-working and persistent scientist who would shape today’s fisheries science with his extensive work in the tropics, the creation of large free databases, FishBase and the Sea Around Us, and the development of impactful concepts, like fishing down marine food webs and shifting baselines.