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New hope for fisheries
Date:7/31/2009

in developed countries, where scientific data on fish abundance is collected. They also point out that some excess fishing effort is simply displaced to countries with weaker laws and enforcement capacity.

While most of the fisheries that showed improvement are managed by a few wealthy nations, there are some notable exceptions. In Kenya, for example, scientists, managers, and local communities have teamed up to close some key areas to fishing and restrict certain types of fishing gear. This led to an increase in the size and amount of fish available, and a consequent increase in fishers' incomes. "These successes are local - but they are inspiring others to follow suit," says Tim McClanahan of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya.

"We know that more fish can be harvested with less fishing effort and less impact on the environment, if we first slow down and allow overfished populations to rebuild," adds co-author Jeremy Collie from the University of Rhode Island. "Scientists and managers in places as different as Iceland and Kenya have been able to reduce overfishing and rebuild fish populations despite serious challenges."

The authors emphasize that a range of management solutions are available to help rebuild fish stocks. They found that a combination of approaches, such as catch quotas and community management coupled with strategically placed fishing closures, ocean zoning, selective fishing gear and economic incentives, offer promise for restoring fisheries and ecosystems. However "lessons from one spot need to be applied very carefully to a new area," says coauthor Beth Fulton of the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship in Australia, since "there are no single silver bullet solutions. Management efforts must be customized to the place and the people."

According to the authors' analysis, Alaska and New Zealand have led the world in terms of management success by not waiting until drastic measures are needed to conserve,
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Contact: Matthew Wright
mwright@compassonline.org
301-412-6931
Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea
Source:Eurekalert

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