Marine fishes are an invaluable food source and a major component of marine ecosystems that are under threat from anthropogenic climate change. Baseline pre-industrial data and a thorough understanding of the impact of natural climatic variability on fishes are absent, but necessary for evaluating the impact anthropogenic climate change. The paleontological and paleoclimatic record can provide the long-term perspective required to address these issues. In particular, deep-time fossil as well as Holocene fish otolith death assemblages offer baseline data for marine fish faunas. Ecological modeling approaches using deep-time records are the state-of-the-art in predicting the impact of climate variability on marine ecosystems as a whole.