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.
|Title of host publication||Perspectives on Oceans Past|
|Editors||Kathleen Schwerdtner Máñez, Bo Poulsen|
|Place of Publication||Dordrecht|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 25 May 2016|