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Restaurant seafood prices since 1850s help plot marine harvests through history

rk with this trove of historical information."

The History of Marine Animal Populations "Oceans Past" Conference

More than 100 marine biologists, ecologists, historians and other scientists from 25 countries will attend the conference to discuss discoveries about the bounty of the world's oceans over 500 years and the changes they have undergone.

Extensive and previously unexplored historical and environmental archives provide valuable information and insight into the sometimes startling changes in marine communities along ocean shorelines and in the open seas. By extending trends backward from the baseline of the present, HMAP's unearthed records from fossils to fish taxes give a head start to detecting and managing future trends.

The "Oceans Past Conference," organized by The History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) project component of the Census of Marine Life, will probe how the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the world's oceans has changed and the role humans have played in this dynamic process.

More than 75 presentations at the conference will add greatly to what is known about ocean life in the past, and delineate what is unknown but discoverable, and what may be unknowable about the world's oceans.

Fish: Food for all Ages

"Fish has been part of peoples' diets since humans first walked the earth and remains a vital item in the daily diet of millions worldwide," says Danish environmental historian Poul Holm, who leads the HMAP network of researchers and institutions.

"The Romans ate fish in vast quantities. And over-fishing in medieval Europe was a very real problem in the days of William the Conqueror and Leonardo da Vinci."

However, the HMAP project is not all about "doom and gloom" and depleted fishing areas, he says. "We stress an understanding of the forces behind the changes."

With respect to the North Sea, for example, researchers at the conferenc
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Source:Census of Marine Life


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