On the Need to Study Fishing Power Change: Challenges and Perspectives

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Abstract

Fishing power, which expresses the efficiency by which vessels have the potential to catch fish, has changed dramatically over the past decades to centuries. In historical ecology, two important reasons for studying fishing power change include: (1) understanding change in the capacity (or overcapacity) of fishing fleets and their potential to exploit (or overexploit) fish stocks; and (2) interpreting catch-per-unit effort data over longer time-scales, especially if these are to be used as abundance proxies for marine populations. This chapter defines fishing power; summarises earlier work on the dynamics of North Sea trawling fleets; reviews available methods for analysing fishing power change; and discusses some of the limitations and assumptions when analysing fishing power data. More research on fishing power dynamics is encouraged: this is expected to improve our understanding of the historical, environmental footprint of fisheries, as well as the long-term dynamics of our marine living resources and the fishing fleets that depend on these.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Oceans Past
EditorsKathleen Schwerdtner Máñez, Bo Poulsen
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer
Pages89-101
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-7496-3
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-7495-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2016

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