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A critical review of the idea of the ocean as a limitless resource

That the “ocean is … a limitless resource of food” is a dogmatic idea suggested by the early natural historians, most explicitly by Huxley (1883) who famously stated that it would be impossible for fishers to ever exploit the oceans fishery resources to exhaustion. Though such ideas have remained popular many recent experiences of fishery collapses and scientific exploration of the multiple effects that harvest has on fished populations has falsified the idea that the ocean is a limitless resource. Indeed recent evidence indicates that the ocean does indeed have limits on its sustainable exploitation and that the effects of harvest are profound. During the predevelopment and growth phases of many of the early industrial fisheries in the early 20th…