Humans have harvested the sea for a long time. Some of the earliest traces left by our species are the shellfish middens of coastal dwellers, and some of the earliest and most delicate tools made by humans are bone fishhooks and other artifacts associated with fishing. Such exploitation of the fruits of the sea was not a trivial accomplishment; it appears, for example, that Australian aboriginals who were isolated on islands in the Bass Straight by the rising seas following the last ice age underwent a cultural degeneration on their way to eventual extinction, and one of the first skills they appear to have lost is fishing. Today, with the tools provided by modern technology, there is no danger of our losing the ability to catch the fish. Instead we have the problem that aggressive overexploitation may lead — and in some cases arguably has already led — to our losing the fish themselves.
KeywordsFishery Management Fish Stock Fishery Scientist Vital Rate Baleen Whale
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