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The history of ocean resources : modeling cod biomass using historical records

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dc.contributor.author Rosenberg, Andrew A.
dc.contributor.author Bolster, W. Jeffrey
dc.contributor.author Alexander, Karen E.
dc.contributor.author Leavenworth, William B.
dc.contributor.author Cooper, Andrew B.
dc.contributor.author McKenzie, Matthew G.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-07-20T19:37:12Z
dc.date.available 2011-07-20T19:37:12Z
dc.date.issued 2005-03
dc.identifier.citation Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3 (2005): 78–84 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1912/4704
dc.description Author Posting. © Ecological Society of America, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of Ecological Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3 (2005): 78–84, doi:10.1890/1540-9295(2005)003[0078:THOORM]2.0.CO;2. en_US
dc.description.abstract Managing the remnants of the ocean's resources is a critical issue worldwide, but evidence for what constitutes a healthy fish population remains controversial. Here, we use historical sources to understand ecosystem trends and establish a biomass estimate for a key marine species prior to the industrialization of fishing. Declining trajectories have been described for predatory fishes and complex coral reef systems globally, but few numerical estimates of past abundance exist. We combined historical research methods and population modeling to estimate the biomass of cod on Canada's Scotian Shelf in 1852. Mid 19th-century New England fishing logs offer geographically specific daily catch records, describing fleet activity on fishing grounds with negligible incentive to falsify records. Combined with ancillary fishery documents, these logs provide a solid, reliable basis for stock assessment. Based on these data we estimate a biomass for cod of 1.26 × 106 mt in 1852 – compared with less than 5 × 104 mt of total biomass today. In the current policy debate about rebuilding depleted fisheries and restoring marine ecosystems, it is important to recognize that fisheries for key commercial species like cod were far more productive in the past. As we attempt to rebuild these fisheries, our decisions should reflect real and realistic goals for management, not just recently observed catch levels. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This study is part of the History of Marine Animal Populations Program (HMAP) Project of the Census of Marine Life (CoML), with funding support from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation. Additional support was provided by the University of New Hampshire. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Ecological Society of America en_US
dc.relation.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295(2005)003[0078:THOORM]2.0.CO;2
dc.title The history of ocean resources : modeling cod biomass using historical records en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1890/1540-9295(2005)003[0078:THOORM]2.0.CO;2


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