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Mary Finley

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.