“Dynamic Closures” Reduce Bycatch, Save Money

Written by on January 20, 2016 in Fish, Policy & Ocean Law

A new study from Duke University shows that “dynamic closures” of certain fishing areas are an effective tool for reducing bycatch with minimal economic impact on fishermen. Dynamic closures involve closing small sections of fishing grounds for short periods of time.

Fishing boat.

Shrimping off the coast of Florida. Photo credit: NOAA.

Duke researchers compared the effectiveness of six different kinds of fishery closures that are typically used to reduce bycatch (the unintended and unwanted catch of non-target species). They found that dynamic closures are more efficient and cost less to fisherman than “static closures,” which close larger areas for longer amounts of time.

Lead author of the study Daniel C. Dunn explained that this is due in part because the “ecological patterns that create bycatch” don’t occur on huge size scales or regular monthly intervals. Instead, “they occur at much smaller time-space scales,” he said.

“Our study provides empirical evidence that if we’re not managing the ocean at these smaller scales there is an inherent inefficiency in the system that costs both fishermen and species alike.”

Another reason dynamic closures are more effective is that data has become much easier to share through mobile apps, emails, and texts.

“The speed at which we can now collect and share data means we can communicate in real time, or very near real time, when bycatch species are sighted or conditions are right for their presence,” said Sara M. Maxwell, assistant professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion University and co-author of the study.

This method allows fishermen to reduce bycatch without wasting time or losing profits.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2016 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 MarineScienceToday.com. 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. .

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