Unsettled Seas: Towards a History of Marine Animal Populations in the Central Indo-Pacific

Chapter
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 12)

Abstract

A central theme of this book concerns the importance of historical perspectives for understanding the challenges that confront marine capture fisheries in the twenty-first century. This chapter explores this theme in relation to the Central Indo-Pacific, a body of water that lies at the geographic and geopolitical heart of the different case studies brought together in this volume. The Central Indo-Pacific is one of the world’s principal marine biogeographic realms. It is made up of the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans, and the seas linking the two—the South China Sea, the seas and straits of Southeast Asia, the Coral Sea, the waters separating Australia from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and Australia’s northern continental shelf. Here, I cover a period similar to the timeframe of the book’s other chapters, which extends from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. This was a period of profound transformation in the marine fisheries of the Central Indo-Pacific, brought about by the intensification of established fisheries and the advent of new industrial fishing practices. My aims are two-fold: to discuss some of the challenges that confront marine environmental historians working in this region; and to describe the major patterns to the transformation of fishing during the period under review, which propelled the Central Indo-Pacific to the centre of the global expansion of marine capture fisheries.

Keywords

Asia fisheries history Oceania fisheries history Indo-Pacific fishing history HMAP Asia Marine environmental history 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank John Butcher for sharing the notes of his presentations at the HMAP Asia I (2009) and II (2010) workshops, and for commenting on an earlier version of this this paper. I also thank Robb Robinson for his comments on an earlier draft. All errors and omissions are the responsibility of the author.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia Research CentreMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia

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