THE BLOG
08/16/2013 07:59 pm ET | Updated Oct 16, 2013

Yesterday's Ocean

Have you ever wondered what the seas off the California shores looked like 100 years ago? Now you can find out! Take a visual journey with Marc Shargel in his newest book of photography: Yesterday's Ocean: A History of Marine Life on California's Central Coast .

Ecology, marine biology, and natural history interwoven with human history emerge from the pages of Yesterday's Ocean. The pictures come to life in stories told by divers, fishermen, and policymakers. Their voices describe the intimate relationship between local residents and their ocean.

Fishermen in Monterey eventually found out, the ocean was not without its limits: after short, intense periods of exploitation, stocks of otters, abalone and sardines became much harder to find. As one species was depleted, another was targeted. This boom and bust pattern came to characterize many of the central coast's fisheries - eventually leading to the stunning crash of the sardine fishery in the late 1940s.

As the saying goes, that those who do not learn from the past are bound to repeat it. Fisheries managers are facing tough decisions now that will determine the future viability of ocean ecosystems as well as the health of precious marine life -- ranging from tiny herring to giant white sharks. Let's take stock of the invaluable history lesson found in Yesterday's Ocean and use it as an illustrative source of motivation for getting it right in our oceans today.