Carmel Finley

finleyma [at]

Office: 541-745-9093

I’m interested in the development of fisheries and fisheries science in the Pacific. Most of the scholarly attention on fisheries development is about the Atlantic, where fisheries developed over hundreds of years. Development in the Pacific was much faster, with fisheries starting and collapsing within a few years.  My work examines the political pressures, both national and international, that shaped fishery science after World War II.  Fishing was a territorial claim during the Cold War, stimulating rapid government subsidization and expansion of fisheries.  My current work looks at the Americanization of fisheries after 1976, and the collapse of West Coast groundfish three decades later.

Here’s a link to a recent paper that summarizes some of my work.


All the Boats on the Ocean: How Government Subsidies led to Global Overfishing. University of Chicago Press, February, 2017.

Living off the Pacific Ocean Floor: Memoir and Stories by Captain George Moskovita.  With Dr. Mary Hunsicker, I have written an introduction to this memoir of a pioneer trawler. Oregon State University Press, November, 2015.

All the Fish in the Sea: Maximum Sustained Yield and the Failure of Fisheries Management. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Two Paths Toward Sustainable Forests: Public Values in Canada and the United States (edited by Bruce A. Schindler, Thomas M. Beckley, and Mary Carmel Finley). Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2002.

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Fisheries and Wildlife Science
Do you accept grad students?: 
I accept graduate students for the Fisheries and Wildlife Department
Courses Taught: 

FW 549 - Syllabus PDF

Beyond OSU
Personal Interests: 

My best days are spent at Cascade Head, on the Oregon coast, messing about in kayaks with my husband, Carl.


I used to be a reporter for The Oregonian, back when it was a real newspaper. One of the last stories I covered was the collapse of West Coast groundfish in the 1990s. I wanted to understand what happened, so I went back to school and did a doctorate in history of science at the University of California, San Diego. I’m interested in the intersection of science and policy in the oceans. I’m writing my third book about the development of fisheries and fisheries science in the Pacific, Redfish: A New Story for an Old Ocean.  

I’ve been blogging about the history of fishing since 2011; there are about 140 posts on the Pacific Fishery History Project blog. 

My Publications