The devastation of many of the greatest North Atlantic cod stocks, particularly those of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Grand Banks, has become an icon for the unsustainable relation between human exploitation and Nature. Here, George Rose tells the full story of that devastation, in scientific detail, for the first time – from the formation of the North Atlantic marine ecosystems to the massive stock declines in the last half of the 20th century. Politics and the fisheries are inextricably entwined. In Cod, Rose recounts the many political influences on the fisheries over several centuries and describes how neglect from the late 1800s onward led to insufficient scientific knowledge and little protection for the stocks when massive Euro-Russian fleets targeted the Grand Banks after World War II, destroying the most prolific fishery the world has known. Cod is no armchair account, but a controversial one that includes original information on the North Atlantic fisheries.


  • Winner, IPPY Awards, Gold Medal, Canada-East Best Regional Nonfiction 2008
  • Short-listed, The Heritage and History Book Award 2009
  • Short-listed, BMO Winterset Award 2008


“This is an ambitious effort to tell the entire epic tale…It's a triumph of a book. Cod is written in plain and lively language. Lushly illustrated and assiduously researched, it cuts no corners but still deftly manages to weave the fascinating human history of Newfoundland into the saga of its complex marine ecology. ” - Terry Glavin, Vancouver Sun

“George Rose’s new book tackles one of Newfoundland’s biggest stories from a fresh perspective. ” - Michael Power, The Muse

“Rose has put his years of research and experience to work. The result is a comprehensive, exhaustive, and balanced look at a fishery and a fish that has affected countless lives over the centuries. ..You don't have to have a degree in fisheries science to read or learn from this book, although you may feel like you've obtained one. ” - Jodi Delong, The Chronicle Herald

“…a fascinating read ¬— maybe a must read in the province’s classrooms. ” - Ryan Cleary, The Independent

“This book says it all about the life and times of cod…And no one can do that explaining better than George Rose. ” - Jim Wellman, The Navigator Magazine

"It really is a wonderful book. " - Mark Callanan, The Independent

“The book is stuffed with wonderful photographs…The colour plates of the echograms are almost as beautiful, although the message they convey is heart-breaking.”
 - Robin McGrath, The Telegram

“Shakespeare couldn’t have written a grander tragedy.” 
- Aaron Beswick, The Northern Pen