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ODU Hosts First U.S.-Based Conference About North Atlantic Fishery History

Scholars studying the history of the North Atlantic fishery are gathering at Old Dominion University this week for an international conference.

The North Atlantic Fisheries History Association (NAFHA) biannual conference will feature researchers from a dozen countries that border the North Atlantic, as well as representatives from some of the world's leading universities and agencies that study the global fishery.

"The 12th NAFHA conference is the first major international fisheries history conference ever held in the U.S. and will bring together some of the most distinguished fisheries scientists and historians at ODU," said Ingo Heidbrink, an ODU associate professor of maritime history and co-chair of NAFHA.

"Fisheries management is one of the most pressing questions for the global marine environment, and understanding the past of fisheries management will hopefully help to create solutions for the future," he said.

The conference runs Wednesday to Saturday, Aug. 19-22.

Among the featured areas of discussion are the "science" of fisheries management; resources, politics and conflict and how they affect fisheries; fisheries "lifecycles": stocks and management; fisheries policy in European commerce; cultural aspects of fisheries history; and fisheries and modernization.

On Saturday, conference participants will tour the Mariners' Museum and USS Monitor Center in Newport News, before heading home on Sunday.

NAFHA is an international, interdisciplinary organization that aims to enhance society's knowledge and understanding of the historical development of North Atlantic fisheries.

The association meets its goal by fostering research activity through conferences that bring together established and emerging scholars to examine socio-cultural, economic, political and environmental aspects of commercial fishing activity over the last 1,000 years.

The findings of these conferences, along with other studies, are disseminated in the association's publication series, Studia Atlantica.

Heidbrink said conferences such as the one this week can help create the knowledge base needed to sustain a viable fishery worldwide.

"As fisheries management is a global issue, solutions can be developed only through international cooperation," Heidbrink said, "and having this international conference at ODU is a great step forward for the maritime history focus in ODU's Department of History."

This article was posted on: August 18, 2009

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