Mankind has long braved the bounding main, armed with nets, lines and hooks, in pursuit of the ocean's natural treasures.

But while the denizens of the briny deep can be financially rewarding (along with nutritious and delicious) for those who bring them to shore in large quantities, an ongoing expedition about 160 miles off Charleston's coast seeks a different source of Atlantic profit.

As reported by The Associated Press' Bruce Smith last week, Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa "announced Monday that almost 1,000 ounces of gold was recovered during a reconnaissance dive last month" - 7,200 feet down to the wreck of the S.S. Central America.

That 280-foot, side-wheel steamship was transporting California Gold Rush treasure - estimated at thousands of pounds - in 1857 when it sank in a hurricane at the cost of 425 lives. Efforts to retrieve significant portions of the loot were paying off during the 1980s and '90s before legal disputes put the recovery of the gold on hold.

Now, however, the hunt is on again.

An expedition that left North Charleston last month is scheduled to remain on the wreck site for the next four months or so.

Clearly, while all that glitters is not gold, that long-coveted substance remains highly valuable - it closed at $1,294.80 per troy ounce Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

So good luck to those going to great lengths - all the way to the bottom of the ocean - in search of gold.

But no, it doesn't make sense to return to the gold standard.

After all, we could never find enough of that stuff to pay off our $17.3 trillion - and rising - national debt.