In Pursuit of Giants

One Man's Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish

Matt Rigney

For millennia the great fish—marlin, bluefin tuna, and swordfish—have reigned over the world’s oceans and awed human beings. Naturalists, photographers, sportfishermen, and writers from Zane Grey to Ernest Hemingway have been inspired by their beauty, power, and sheer size. But like much other marine life today, these fish face perilous reductions in their populations due to destructive and illegal fishing, inept fisheries management practices, and dramatic changes in ocean ecology, including those wrought by climate change. In Pursuit of Giants is a moving elegy and a call to arms for the protection of these creatures, as well as a five-year, 75,000-mile global adventure story that takes author Matt Rigney on a quest to discover how once-thriving species are now threatened. Rigney’s pilgrimage to encounter these giants takes him from the sportfishing mecca of Cabo San Lucas, to the Great Barrier Reef, from New Zealand to Nova Scotia, Japan and the Mediterranean, as he joins commercial and sport fishermen, marine biologists, fish-farming pioneers, and ocean activists to investigate the dangers these species face, and the various efforts being made—or not—to protect them.

Cover Image of In Pursuit of Giants: One Man's Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish
Paper: $19.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781512600674
Pages: 336 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: April 4, 2017


  • Muscular and lyrical by turns, Mr. Rigney’s prose deftly captures the wildness of the sea-the deep gleam of a shoal turning suddenly in the sunlight, the birdlike head of a striped marlin, spawning tuna ‘blazing their milky contrails.’ Each section reads like a short story. Thumbnail character sketches abound, with the odd salty joke thrown in.

    Wall Street Journal
  • An avid fisherman, Rigney provides a glorious read in his examination of sportfishing and the imperiled state of ocean life. The ‘awe and humility’ felt in the presence of these fish is sensitively and powerfully wrought throughout this dramatic, transcendental tale.

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Rigney has crafted a smart, lyrical, passionate-but-not-too-preachy call to arms.

    Miami Herald
  • . . . a dramatic account that will appeal to the sportsman and conservationist alike.

    Kirkus Reviews
  • Like Carl Safina’s Song for the Blue Ocean, In Pursuit of Giants is not only informative but exceptionally well written and a pleasure to read, which should bring it the wide audience it deserves.

    Peter Matthiessen

About the Author

MATT RIGNEY is a native New Englander and has fished fresh- and saltwater for over forty years. He sailed aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the last remaining American whaleship, on its thirty-eighth voyage. His opinion pieces and articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, Orion, Bisbee’s Marlin World, and Huffington Post, where he blogs about commercial fishing, ocean conservation, and fish.

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