In a Perfect Ocean: The State Of Fisheries And Ecosystems In The North Atlantic Ocean

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Island Press, 2003 - Nature - 175 pages
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Recent decades have been marked by the decline or collapse of one fishery after another around the world, from swordfish in the North Atlantic to orange roughy in the South Pacific. While the effects of a collapse on local economies and fishing-dependent communities have generated much discussion, little attention has been paid to its impacts on the overall health of the ocean's ecosystems.In a Perfect Ocean: The State of Fisheries and Ecosystems in the North Atlantic Ocean presents the first empirical assessment of the status of ecosystems in the North Atlantic ocean. Drawing on a wide range of studies including original research conducted for this volume, the authors analyze 14 large marine ecosystems to provide an indisputable picture of an ocean whose ecology has been dramatically altered, resulting in a phenomenon described by the authors as "fishing down the food web." The book:provides a snapshot of the past health of the North Atlantic and compares it to its present statuspresents a rigorous scientific assessment based on the key criteria of fisheries catches, biomass, and trophic levelconsiders the factors that have led to the current situationdescribes the policy options available for halting the declineoffers recommendations for restoring the North AtlanticAn original and powerful series of maps and charts illustrate where the effects of overfishing are the most pronounced and highlight the interactions among various factors contributing to the overall decline of the North Atlantic's ecosystems.This is the first in a series of assessments by the world's leading marine scientists, entitled "The State of the World's Oceans." In a Perfect Ocean: The State of Fisheries and Ecosystems in the North Atlantic Ocean is a landmark study, the first of its kind to make a comprehensive, ecosystem-based assessment of the North Atlantic Ocean, and will be essential reading for policymakers at the state, national, and international level concerned with fisheries management, as well for scientists, researchers, and activists concerned with marine issues or fishing and the fisheries industry.
 

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Contents

A Brief History of the North Atlantic and Its Resources
1
Past Abundance in the North Atlantic
5
Development of North Atlantic Fisheries
10
Effects of Technology
17
The Importance of Understanding the Past
19
The Decline of North Atlantic Fisheries
23
How Much Fish Is Being Caught?
29
Fishing Effort and Related Indices
33
Ineffective Governance
75
Institutions and Equity
89
What to Do?
91
Reducing Fishing Effort
94
Transforming the Market
104
Transforming Governance
110
Leaning on the Firewall Between Science and Advocacy
116
Notes
121

Impacts on Biomass and Ecosystems
43
Report Card for an Impoverished Ocean
61
How Did We Get Here?
63
Distorted Economics
66
References
153
Acronyms
165
Index
167
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About the author (2003)

Daniel Pauly is the principal investigator for the Sea Around Us Project, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and based at the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Jay Maclean is an independent writer and marine biologist based in the Philippines.



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