Fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly’s life is one for the books
The 75-year-old principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries is the author of five books, 400 peer-review papers and over 1,200 other pieces of writing.
“I express myself this way. This is how I connect with the world,” said Pauly when asked about his prolific writing during a recent Zoom interview from a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany.
The renowned Pauly is the subject of the new biography The Ocean’s Whistleblower: The Remarkable Life of Daniel Pauly by David Grémillet .
Pauly was a sickly baby with an exhausted mother who fell prey to what appeared to be a couple of Swiss grifters she met one day on the edge of the Seine. The woman in the pair convinced Pauly’s mother to give the couple her two-year-old son to look after for three months while she rested up and got back on her feet.
His mother tried to get him back but gave up eventually and Pauly was left to grow up in Switzerland.
His mother went on to marry and have seven other children in France.
In Switzerland, Pauly’s childhood was Dickensian. He missed a great deal of school in order to work collecting recyclables and cleaning out the apartments of people who had died alone.
“If there is one habit that I kept from that time it’s that I always feel guilty when I’m not working,” Pauly tells his biographer.