For people who care about their food

New hope for seafish stocks?

A study carried out by a team of 21 scientists at 15 universities worldwide has some positive news for the management of the world’s fisheries – it seems that their efforts are having results.

The team, led by Dr Boris Worm of Canada’s Dalhousie University, analysed 10 well-studied ecosystems over two years for evidence that efforts to limit fishery exploitation caused stocks to recover. In five of them, a range of measures – including catch quotas, selective fishing gear and no-take zones or Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – had reduced the catch to the point where stocks were predicted to recover to the maximum sustainable yield point.

It wasn’t all good news, though. 63 per cent of assessed fish stocks worldwide still need to be rebuilt – and, of course, many fish stocks haven’t been assessed, so the figure may be significantly higher. Moreover, the impact of international fleets in poorer countries’ waters, and the lack of any alternative to fishing as a livelihood, makes it harder for developing countries to manage their fishing fleets effectively.

But at least the team’s paper (published in Science magazine, although you have to pay to read the full article – $15 for 24 hours’ access) offers strong evidence that the measures being taken to limit fishing are having the right effect. So there’s some encouragement there, at least.

You can read more about it here:
BBC News: Fresh hope for world’s fisheries

and an abstract of the article is available here:
Science magazine: Rebuilding Global Fisheries (abstract)

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