Hakai Magazine

Calvert Island on the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada
Calvert Island on the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Keith Holmes

Our Best of 2017

These pieces have contributed to investigations, policy changes, and even a potential movie.

Authored by

by David Garrison

Article body copy

“2017 is going to be a great year!” This was our editor in chief Jude Isabella’s rallying cry all year and, as it turns out, she was right. It was a great year at Hakai Magazine. We won national awards, showcased short documentaries at film festivals, and published more than 200 articles that contributed to critical conversations about the world’s coastlines. We went to conferences, joined research teams in the field, and even sailed aboard the Polar Prince as part of the Canada C3 expedition. None of this would have been possible without our outstanding team of contributors from around the world—writers, photographers, and fact-checkers—and the Tula Foundation, which allows us to do this work. With our media landscape shrinking as fast as the sea ice cover, our contributors’ work is more important than ever.

Here we share with you our top 17 stories of 2017. These pieces have contributed to investigations, policy changes, and even a potential movie. We invite you to take some time away from the hoopla of the holidays and settle in for a few good reads.


The Mysterious Disappearance of Keith Davis

by Sarah Tory • Jan 4, 2017 • 4,500 words, about 23 minutes

The unsettling disappearance of a fisheries observer sparks questions about safety on the high seas and the fate of the fish stocks observers attempt to monitor.

The Last Trial of the Codfather

by Brendan Borrell • Jan 10, 2017 • 5,000 words, about 25 minutes

Since his release from prison in the 1980s, Carlos Rafael has ruthlessly run his Massachusetts seafood business with little regard for the law. But is there any other way to survive the gauntlet of restrictions on the New England fishing industry?

From Vilified to Vindicated: the Story of Jacques Cinq-Mars

by Heather Pringle • Mar 7, 2017 • 3,000 words, about 15 minutes

How a toxic debate over the first Americans hobbled science for decades.

The Lunar Sea

by Ferris Jabr • Jun 13, 2017 • 2,300 words, about 11 minutes

The moon influences life in a surprising and subtle way: with its light.

Blasting Through the Hunley Mystery

by Evan Lubofsky • Aug 1, 2017 • 2,900 words, about 15 minutes

A maverick scientist claims she has done what scores of researchers before her failed to do: solve the century-old mystery of why a legendary Civil War submarine sank.

From Prejudice to Pride

by Jude Isabella • Oct 10, 2017 • 6,300 words, about 31 minutes

In the 20th century, Japanese anthropologists and officials tried to hide the existence of the Indigenous Ainu. Then the Ainu fought back like their cousins, the bears.

Death of a Modern Wolf

by J. B. MacKinnon • Oct 17, 2017 • 4,300 words, about 22 minutes

Once feared, vilified, and exterminated, the wolves of Vancouver Island face an entirely different threat: our fascination, our presence, and our selfies.

The Ecolabel Fable

by Raina Delisle • Nov 7, 2017 • 4,500 words, about 23 minutes

Buyer beware: sustainable seafood programs can’t guarantee ocean-friendly choices.

The Hunger Games: Two Killer Whales, Same Sea, Different Diets

by Larry Pynn • Nov 28, 2017 • 3,700 words, about 18 minutes

The Salish Sea’s resident killer whales are in trouble—and garnering all the headlines—but transient killer whales traveling the same waters seem to be doing fine.


There’s Probably Plastic in Your Sea Salt

by Michael Allen • May 8, 2017 • 550 words, about 2 minutes

Now you can season your plastic-contaminated fish with plastic-contaminated sea salt.

God or Geology? The Genesis of Ram’s Bridge

by Ariel Sophia Bardi • May 31, 2017 • 950 words, about 4 minutes

Secular and religious Indians are butting heads over the origin of an important shoal.

First Nations Test the Political Water with Fish Farm Protests

by Erica Gies • Oct 13, 2017 • 1,000 words, about 5 minutes

First Nations’ occupations of fish farms are rooted in a deeper conversation about Indigenous land rights.

Poverty, Poaching, and Death by Great White Shark

by Kimon de Greef • Oct 27, 2017 • 700 words, about 3 minutes

South African abalone poachers are dying as they fuel illegal trade.

No Happy Ending for the Vaquita

by Sarah Gilman • Nov 14, 2017 • 1,400 words, about 7 minutes

A last-ditch effort to save the vaquita has ended in tragedy.

Videos and Visuals

Cuttlefish Brawl

Text by Shanna Baker, Art by Mark Garrison • Mar 6, 2017 • 34-panel comic

Bif! Blam! Whack! Boom! When giant Australian cuttlefish convene to mate, males usually rely on visual displays to intimidate one another—but sometimes, things can get rough.

Mexican Fishing Bats

by Edward Roqueta • Jul 25, 2017 • 6 min

In the Sea of Cortez, researchers delve into the mystery of a bat that makes its living at sea.

Beauty in Blackwater

Photos and story by Michael Patrick O’Neill • Nov 9, 2017 • 1,100 words, 14 photos

While most photographers are tucked in bed, this sharpshooter dons dive gear and searches for his subjects at the ocean’s surface, in the black of night.

Article footer and bottom matter

Cite this Article:

Cite this Article: David Garrison “Our Best of 2017,” Hakai Magazine, Dec 29, 2017, accessed June 15th, 2024, https://hakaimagazine.com/article-short/our-best-of-2017/.

Related Topics