Marine life once more abundant – historical study

New Zealand whale populations figured big in study results released today by the Census of Marine Life’s History of Marine Animal Population (HMAP) project. Researchers around the world examined historical records including mounted fish trophies, photographs, ships logs and tax records.

New Zealand researchers took part through a study estimating pre-whaling populations of southern right whales, which they say were once 30 times as numerous. They say these estimates are already being incorporated into models of the New Zealand coastal ecosystem to help guide conservation and management.

News coverage:

BBC: Study unlocks history of the seas

TimesOnline: Census of Marine Life brings hope to revival of the seas

Guardian: Experts uncover secrets of the seas’ past

Reuters: European overfishing began 1,000 years ago -report