Reforming “17th Century Ideas of Marine Exploitation”

Recently discovered a fabulous new marine tweep, the British Oceanographic Data Centre {follow @BODC on twitter} (a national facility for preserving and distributing oceanographic and marine data), who has been tweeting some interesting links from the other side of the pond. They brought to my attention this morning a new article by marine biologist Jason Hall-Spencer on The Guardian’s Comment is Free section that hits it:

[…] In the 17th century Hugo Grotius developed the doctrine of the “freedom of the seas”, in the face of Portuguese and Spanish claims to sovereignty over vast areas of ocean. He argued that nobody could own the seas, which had been “created by nature for common use”; and was convinced that there were enough fish to go around, that the ocean could deal with what we threw at it and that the bounty was vast enough to share without ownership. The trouble is that then there were perhaps half a billion people – but now there are more than 6 billion of us exploiting what we now know are limited resources. […]

I’ve touched on this changing paradigms idea a little bit in my Deep Sea 101 series and it will be a reoccurring theme. As a society, we are still reluctant at times to shake off out-dated and even harmful ideas. The Hall-Spencer article is certainly worth reading, so head over! Additionally, here is an article on cold water corals he wrote for Deep Sea News in 2007.

Kevin Zelnio (870 Posts)

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