Environmental History Of The Oceans And Seas

1692 Words Dec 17th, 2015 7 Pages
Environmental history of the oceans and seas are daunting topics, either because of the vastness of the oceans and seas, the artificial boundaries, or their seemingly changelessness. Until about 1990, with Arthur McEvoy’s The Fisherman’s Problem: Ecology and the Law in California Fisheries, 1850-1980, historians largely ignored marine ecosystems as areas of research. Focusing instead on inland fisheries, environmental historians have still had to be “exhorted… to embrace this opportunity” of expanding the discourse of human impacts on marine environments. Scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, and historical ecologists have thus far dominated the production of knowledge concerning historical and current marine ecosystems. In examining human relationships with marine ecosystems, scholars have also acknowledged the “ecological notion of shifting baselines,” in which the ecological reference point to which marine ecosystem’s health are measured against changes and continues to change. This, in turn, can inform the scholars investigating historical ecological change because the pristine conditions against which data is measured is constantly shifting. Ultimately, the interdisciplinary historiography examining marine ecosystems highlights human exploitation from aboriginal population to contemporary mismanagement and industrial fishing.
Although it was initially believed that aboriginal populations had little to no effect on marine ecosystems because of the “ecological…

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