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.
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.