Curbs on overfishing beginning to succeed worldwideBy ANI
Saturday, August 1, 2009
WASHINGTON - A new study has shown that steps taken to curb overfishing are beginning to succeed worldwide.
The study was carried out by US scientists Dr Boris Worm of Dalhousie University and Dr Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington.
The study shows that steps taken to curb overfishing are beginning to succeed in five of the 10 large marine ecosystems they examined.
The study had two goals: to examine current trends in fish abundance and exploitation rates (the proportion of fish taken out of the sea) and to identify which tools managers have applied in their efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks.
The work is a significant leap forward because it reveals that the rate of fishing has been reduced in several regions around the world, resulting in some stock recovery.
Moreover, it bolsters the case that sound management can contribute to the rebuilding of fisheries elsewhere.
It is ‘good news’ for several regions in the US, Iceland and New Zealand.
“These highly managed ecosystems are improving,” said Dr Hilborn. “Yet there is still a long way to go: of all fish stocks that we examined 63 per cent remained below target and still needed to be rebuilt,” he added.
According to Dr Worm, there is still a troubling trend of increasing stock collapse across all regions.
“But this paper shows that our oceans are not a lost cause,” he said. “We are seeing recovery in overall ecosystem structure, even if some species aren’t fully recovered yet,” he added.
“The encouraging result is that the exploitation rate - the ultimate driver of depletion and collapse - is decreasing in half of the 10 systems we examined in detail. This means that management in those areas is setting the stage for ecological and economic recovery. It’s only a start but it gives me hope that we have the ability to bring overfishing under control,” said Dr Worm.
“Exploitation rates have more than halved since the early 1990s. This means that management is setting the stage for ecological and economic recovery,” said Dr Beth Fulton.
“As a result, we are seeing recovery in overall ecosystem structure, even if some species aren’t fully recovered yet,” she added. (ANI)