Public Lecture by Andrea Gaynor

9 November 2017,

Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre Auditorium, UWA
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

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Image of Painting Big Fish Eat Little Fish. Pieter van der Heyden 1525–1569 

Big Fish Eat Little Fish. Pieter van der Heyden ca.1525–1569

Oceans Past and Future: what role can history play in restoration and recovery of marine environments?

A public lecture by Associate Professor Andrea Gaynor, History, The University of Western Australia 

Faced with the dramatic depletion and collapse of many of the world’s significant fish stocks, over recent decades marine scientists and managers have increasingly turned to historical sources in order to comprehend the full extent and nature of change in marine ecosystems. Beginning with the concept of shifting baselines elaborated by Daniel Pauly in 1995, historical knowledge has increasingly been recognised as important for present understanding and management. For example, the ten year Census of Marine Life, which involved 2700 scientists and more than 80 nations, included a component called History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) that researched changes in abundance of various forms of marine life, the effects of large-scale exploitation of marine animals, and the changing ways in which societies have organised around the harvest and distribution of marine resources over time.

Historians, historical ecologists and other researchers have looked to a diverse array of sources, from monastic records and ship’s logs to fisheries returns and oral histories to construct images of past abundance and ecosystem function. However, creating images of ‘oceans past’ is far from straightforward. This lecture will discuss some of the challenges of research in this area, as well as proposing that while historical data is important, there are other significant roles for history to play in restoration and recovery of marine environments.

Andrea Gaynor is Associate Professor of History at The University of Western Australia. Her expertise encompasses the history of food production in Australian cities, Western Australian environmental history, agricultural history, animals in history and the history of fish and fishing. She is the author of Harvest of the Suburbs: An Environmental History of Growing Food in Australian Cities (2006, UWA Publishing).

About this Series: All at Sea - Restoration and Recovery

Our oceans and coasts provide us with food, energy, livelihoods, cultural and recreational opportunities, yet they are coming under increasing pressure. This UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Oceans Institute Lecture Series explores the wonders of our seas, the challenges they face and how research at UWA - in a diverse range of fields including marine science, ocean engineering, health, humanities and social sciences are contributing to ensure sustainability.