Alaskan Crab Grounds

September 18, 2010, 4:10 p.m. Posted by stefanc

The Atlas now includes data documenting the history of commercial crab fishing in Alaska. These crab fisheries are currently very lucrative, but management efforts have not always been successful, leading to numerous stock collapses and district closures throughout their history. University of Alaska (Fairbanks) graduate student, Courtney Lyons, has compiled data from state and federal management reports and documented the spread of fishing effort across the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska during the 1940s-1970s. Her research also illustrates the collapses, closures, and development of fisheries for harder to access species during the 1980s-2000s. Numerous hypotheses attempt to explain the sudden decline in crab abundance observed in the 1980s including overfishing, trawling of broodstock, and climate change. Compilation of data over longer temporal and spatial scales, as done in the Atlas, will hopefully help inform discussions of such fisheries failures and prevent them in the future.

Historic Sperm Whaling Grounds

May 12, 2010, 9:38 p.m. Posted by stefanc

Sperm whaling grounds have been added to the atlas, as mapped and published in 2005 by John Bannister (et al.) in Oceans Past: Management Insights from the History of Marine Animal Populations. The areas mapped are based on many published descriptions by whalers and scientists, and broadly reflect charts or maps of whale catches originally published by Townsend (1935). The atlas shows the areas or regions where sperm whales were exploited by whalers 1760-1920. The whaling grounds are represented as large rectangular areas. To view detailed descriptions, select an area and click ‘View Form’ in the pop-up window. Registered users may add to or edit the existing entries. If you have questions or comments, please contact the Atlas project manager, Stefan Claesson.

Call for Papers

November 11, 2009, 12:00 p.m. Posted by stefanc

HMAP invites papers for the conference, Oceans Past III: Stories from the sea - history of marine animal populations and their exploitation. The conference will take place at Synge Lecture Hall, Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 18-20 November 2010. Go to for additional information. The first decade of international, multi-disciplinary “History of Marine Animal Populations” (HMAP) research program culminates in 2010. At this juncture, it is appropriate to reflect on the project’s major achievements, to look ahead and consider the future of marine environmental history and historical ecology, and to consider how the knowledge assembled to date can be applied to marine resource management and conservation.