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Mathematical Models for Society and Biology, 2nd Edition by Edward Beltrami

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Chapter 8

Boom and Bust

8.1 Background

In his novel Cannery Row John Steinbeck vividly describes the bustle of a sardine factory in Monterey, California, before the Second World War, when heavily laden boats brought in the abundant catch of the sea. But the industry suffered a sharp decline as the sardine population collapsed in the late 1940s and the once-thriving canneries began to close down. Later, in the early 1970s, a similarly precipitous drop in the catch of anchovies occurred in Peru, then the largest fishery in the world. What happened? Although some episodic shift in climate may have had an influence, especially the influx of warm waters known as “El Niño,” which occurs sporadically off the Peruvian coast, the dominant factor in each ...

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