Violent confrontations on the waterfront and arson attacks were an unsavory feature of the intense hunt for sponges on Florida’s fragile coral reef in 1918. But the real victims were the sponges themselves.
Human harvesters not only depleted the sponge banks, but also precipitated the spread of disease which ultimately proved fatal to this once-rich marine resource. This is just one example of eleven stories presented in Oceans Past, written by a multi-disciplinary team of experts, that provide an historical view of ocean resources that can help foreshadow the future.
The newly published book from Earthscan presents studies of long-term interaction between human societies and the marine environment. The chapters were originally presented as papers to an international conference – Oceans Past: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the History of Marine Animal Populations. Contributions came from researchers based in Russia, Canada, Australia, Denmark, UK and the U.S. This pioneering book demonstrates how an understanding of the past can explain the current state of the seas and inform the management of ocean resources in the future.
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