ECOS 38 (2): Book Review: SECRETS OF THE SEA


A journey into the heart of the oceans

Alex Mustard and Callum Roberts

240 pages
ISBN: 9781472927613
Hardback RRP: £25

Review by Mick Green

A celebration of Planet Water

This stunning coffee table book combines the pictures of award-winning photographer Alex Mustard with text from Professor Callum Roberts. The book is global in its coverage and the chapters take us around the world celebrating the riches of our oceans with page after page of stunning photographs. Each photograph is accompanied by an extended caption giving information and some context about the taking of the picture.

Each chapter also has text from Callum Roberts, and as you would expect from a Professor of Marine Conservation the essays make a strong case for better protection of our marine life at both national and international levels. For example, he writes that “most people look upon the North Atlantic as furious and untameable, natural and wild, even to those whose responsibility it is to protect nature. But accepting this altered state as natural means we condemn the diminished and disappeared to their exile, rather than helping them return to triumph once more”.

My one gripe about the book is that the essays in each chapter are broken into paragraphs separated by pages of photographs. This means you either have to go through the book reading the text and ignoring the photos or you get rather disjointed reading as you view the pictures and their accompanying captions. I think it would have worked better with the text in one block at the start of each chapter.

This is a minor point though. Overall the text contains fascinating information and an important conservation message. The photos are a real celebration of the riches of our oceans and show why we need to improve the appallingly low level of protection we give to the 71% of our planet that is covered in water.


Green, Mick “ECOS 38 (2): Book Review: SECRETS OF THE SEA” ECOS vol. 38(2), 2017, British Association of Nature Conservationists,

Leave a Reply