Synopses & Reviews
The use of marine organisms as food by man is almost as old as man himself. Treated here are ecological and socio-economic aspects of the human exploitation of nearshore and intertidal resources on rocky shores, excluding fish, in South Africa and Chile. Impacts both on target species and ecosystem functioning are considered. The subsistence and commercial benefits of exploitation are discussed, and management options are reviewed in the contexts of conservation biology and socioeconomics. An important feature of the book is the intercontinental comparison, which highlights both the similarities and differences in the types of organisms exploited and the consequencesfor community-level interaction. The scientific framework for a sound littoral resource management is provided, and the principles derived cover asufficiently diverse array of ecological processes to researchers in the field of littoral exploitation, of marine and community ecology, anthropology and socioeconomics.
It seems almost trite to introduce this book by saying that man has been exploiting the intertidal zone for food for a long time. Just how long nobody knows for sure but the prehistoric inhabitants of Terra Amata, on the Mediterranean coast near Nice, ate marine intertidal animals at least 300 000 years ago. Similar impressive evidence, going back to at least 100000 years, exists for prehistoric man's consumption of intertidal animals along the South African coast. However, early man's dependence on intertidal resources probably goes back much further in time. During the last 2 million or so years temperate Eurasia experienced some 20 glaciations interspersed by warm equable periods. Different modes of life were open to man in colonizing the northern temperate zone. One was to become a big-game hunter, specializing, for example, on mammoths, the other to exploit marine intertidal resources. Of the two, probably the shoreline offered an easier environment for an original scavenging food-gatherer.