Still Hope for World’s Fisheries

Written by on September 30, 2012 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law

A study recently published in Science magazine confirmed the existence of thousands of “data-poor” fisheries, making up over 80 percent of the world’s fisheries.  Their study shows that while these fisheries are in decline, there is hope for their recovery if they are managed properly.

Status and Solutions for the World’s Unassessed Fisheries” was co-authored by Bren School Sustainable Fisheries Group(SFG) researchers and their colleagues.

Purse seine.

About 400 tons of jack mackerel caught by a purse seiner. Purse seines are considered unsustainable because they are not specifically designed to catch one type of fish and therefore result in high levels of bycatch. Photo credit: C. Ortiz Rojas, NOAA Fisheries.

They found that allowing depleted stocks to recover to sustainable levels, instead of continuing unsustainable fishing practices, could lead to increases of 8 to 40 percent in future catches.

Adequate population data is only available for 20 percent of over 10,000 of the fish stocks throughout the world.  The data regarding the other 80 percent, collected by the research team, was made possible by a new technique they developed.  It allowed them to determine fish population status using less data, less money and less time than require by traditional stock assessment.

“For most fisheries, we simply didn’t know how many fish were out there and whether their populations were trending up or down,” explained lead author and Bren School professor of economics Christopher Costello.  “Without good information on fish populations, it can be hard to manage sustainably.  It’s like trying to decide how far you can drive your car without knowing how much gas is in the tank.”

“These fisheries can rebound,” he continued, “but the longer we wait, the harder and more costly it will be to bring them back.  In another ten years, the window of opportunity may have closed.”

Read the full article from the Bren School, here: Now in Science-It’s Not Too Late for Troubled Fisheries

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Find MST on Instagram Connect with MST on Google Plus

Comments are closed.