Wednesday, 29 January 2020 21:17

US: Fisheries management works

EM1 20 News Int StockManOf all the fish caught worldwide nearly half are from scientifically monitored stocks and, on average, these stocks are increasing. An international project led by the University of Washington has compiled and analysed data from fisheries around the world and effective management seems to be the main reason why these stocks are at sustainable levels or successfully rebuilding.

“There is a narrative that fish stocks are declining around the world, that fisheries management is failing and we need new solutions — and it’s totally wrong,” said Ray Hilborn, lead author and a professor in the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “Fish stocks are not all declining around the world. They are increasing in many places, and we already know how to solve problems through effective fisheries management.”

The project builds on international fish stock estimates over the last 10 years from around the world. This information helps scientists and managers know where overfishing is occurring, or where some areas could support additional fishing. Currently the project includes data on nearly half of the world’s fish catch, up from about 20% represented in the last compilation in 2009. Although the data contain large gaps from unassessed stocks in India, Indonesia, and China, which represent between 30-40% of the world’s fish catch.

The researchers paired information about fish stocks with recently published data on fisheries management activities in about 30 countries. This analysis found that more intense management led to healthy or improving fish stocks, while little to no management led to overfishing and poor stock status. These results show that fisheries management works when applied, and the solution for sustaining fisheries around the world is implementing effective fisheries management.