People used to think that the sea’s bounty was infinite. Looking across the vast ocean, it was hard for any single fisherman to believe they could be contributing to the loss of species. Hugo Grotius, commonly referred to as the founder of natural resources law, described the inexhaustible nature of the ocean: “The sea is […]
In 1954 and 1957 Gordon and Schaefer respectively described the idea of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) – that is, the amount of fish that could be taken by commercial fishing operations to maximize reproduction by the system year after year. Since then, it has been heralded as the mathematical panacea to fisheries management. Gordon and […]
With seafood season in full swing, I thought I’d repost this review of certification programs. I’ve learned lots since writing this article, most notably that the compiled data from the EDF study comes from a huge database of government sources. This gives me more confidence in their truth, but the areas tested are still light […]
Menhaden were the most important fisheries throughout American history. When the first settlers learn to farm corn, it was with menhaden that they fertilized the seeds. When the whaling industry reached its height, it was outweighed by menhaden oil. Menhaden ruled the ocean from the middle of the food chain, they were the dominant prey […]
Can social science save the sharks? A recent article in Progress in Oceanography by Peter Jacques seems to think so, calling for a “social oceanography”. In other circles, this could be known as the human dimensions of a marine ecosystem or the social side of a socioecological system. Either way, the field exists already. However, […]
The discipline of geography is one that most people likely dismiss as mapmaking. Gone is the stodgy cartographer and here is the GIS tech wizard. But outside of very particular applications, do most people really give geography a second thought? I hope to show through a famous fishery example that the world should give geography […]
I recently attended a public hearing for a proclamation in the state of North Carolina that proposed to ban large-mesh gill nets in two areas of the state’s estuaries where sea turtle encounters have recently increased. There’s a large back story to both sides of the case and a lot of emotional motivation on both […]
The piracy situation in Somalia is a terrible human tragedy. That’s why when conservationist Joni Lawrence said that it was great because it helped fish stocks to recover, people like myself and Blogfish author Mark Powell got angry. As it turns out, Joni Lawrence wasn’t just being horribly insensitive- she was wrong.