In this series, I will post bits and pieces from, and perhaps comments to, various classical texts in fisheries economics. I’ll begin with the very first paragraph of The Common Wealth in Ocean Fisheries by Christy and Scott (1965). The Common Wealth is perhaps not a dominant landmark in the fisheries literature, but Christy and Scott were indeed to very influental characters in the early development of fisheries economics, and their book helped introduce fisheries problems to social scientists.
The biological resources of the sea have long fascinated man. The mystery of what lies beneath the surface has stimulated his imagination and nurtured hope that in this vast area there are resources capable of feeding a growing and a still hungry population for centuries to come. But, at the same time, realization of this hope is impeded by the opacity, instability, and sheer magnitude of the medium itself – by man’s inability to see and hold. Fishing – one of man’s earliest callings – is still haphazard and subject to the vagaries of weather, ocean currents, and mysterious migrations (p. v).