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The Imperilled Ocean

The Imperilled Ocean

The vulnerable visage of the crown jewel of planet Earth.

An exploration of the earth's last wild frontier, filled with high-stakes stories and people and places facing an uncertain future.

On a life raft in the Mediterranean, a teenager from Ghana wonders whether he will reach Europe alive, and whether he will be allowed to stay. In the North Atlantic, a young chef disappears from a cruise ship, leaving a mystery for his friends and family to solve.  A water-squatting community battles eviction from a harbour in British Columbia, raising the question of who owns the water.

The Imperilled Ocean by Laura Trethewey is a deeply reported work of narrative journalism that follows people as they head out to sea. What they discover holds inspiring and dire implications for the life of the ocean — and for all of us back on land. Battles are fought, fortunes made, lives lost, and the ocean approaches an uncertain future. Behind this human drama, the ocean is growing ever more unstable, threatening to upend life on land.

Laura Trethewey is an ocean journalist and a senior writer and editor at, the multimedia storytelling site of the Vancouver Aquarium. Her writing has also been published in Smithsonian Magazine, Courier International, the Walrus, Globe and Mail, and Canadian Geographic.

240 pages
Pub date: February 4, 2020