Navigation Links
New study raises concerns about proposed mitigation strategy for marine bycatch

SANTA CRUZ, CA--Huge numbers of fish, seabirds, and other marine animals are routinely killed and discarded after being inadvertently caught during fishing operations. Known as marine bycatch, this problem is an ongoing challenge to the fishing industry, regulatory agencies, and conservationists. One recent proposal would compensate for bycatch by reducing other impacts on affected species, but a new analysis suggests that this strategy could end up doing more harm than good.

A paper published last year in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment made the case for "compensatory mitigation" of fisheries bycatch, using seabird deaths caused by a longline fishery as an example. The authors suggested that eradicating rats from an island with seabird nesting colonies could have more benefits for a population of shearwaters than efforts to reduce bycatch in the longline fishery.

A number of seabird experts, however, were skeptical of the paper's findings. Given its potential influence on fishery policies, they decided the proposal warranted a careful evaluation.

"There are so many complexities involved in fisheries bycatch, we felt compelled to thoroughly examine the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and establish the criteria that would have to be met for it to work," said Myra Finkelstein, a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Finkelstein is the lead author of a paper published June 18 in the journal PLoS ONE that evaluates the potential effectiveness of compensatory mitigation for marine bycatch. She worked with a dozen coauthors whose areas of expertise include seabird conservation and ecology, marine bycatch, and mathematical modeling of wildlife populations. The researchers concluded that compensatory mitigation could only rarely succeed in reducing or offsetting the effects of marine bycatch.

"It's very difficult to make this work," Finkelstein said. "Most of the species threatened by bycatch evolved to live long and reproduce slowly. When bycatch kills adults, these populations just aren't capable of making up for it through increased reproduction. It really is about the bycatch."

Another major stumbling block is that bycatch typically involves a large variety of nontarget species, whereas compensatory mitigation actions are likely to affect only one or a few of those species.

"Marine bycatch is not a single-species problem," Finkelstein said. "So many nontarget species are caught in a given fishery that mitigating the effects on one species could lead to a bigger impact on other species."

The researchers also found flaws in the case study of flesh-footed shearwaters used to support the compensatory mitigation strategy in the original paper. But the bulk of the new paper is devoted to a set of five criteria for evaluating any proposals to implement such strategies. The researchers found that compensatory mitigation for marine bycatch is likely to be successful only in a limited number of situations. In many cases, they said, it has the potential to accelerate declines of marine species currently threatened by fisheries bycatch.

"These are complicated situations. We have to be very cautious, especially with critically endangered species, before we adopt a policy that allows continued mortality from bycatch," Finkelstein said.


Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California - Santa Cruz

Related biology news :

1. New study shows shallow water corals evolved from deep sea ancestors
2. Women in Science fellowship to fund postdocs study of deep-sea methane
3. Geisinger study: Inflammatory disease causes blindness
4. Nanoglassblowing seen as boon to study of individual molecules
5. Woolly-mammoth gene study changes extinction theory
6. From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature, Penn study reveals
7. Study of guanacos launched in Chile
8. New study reveals large scale conservation essential
9. Study finds Chinese food good for your heart
10. Study identifies brain pathway that shuts down seizures
11. NOAA study shows eastern tropical pacific ocean dolphin populations improving
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... CHESHAM , England , November 26, ... Lightpoint Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in ... Euro grant from the European Commission as part of the ... enabling the company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial ... -->      (Logo: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in species of ... way for more effective treatment for one of the most ... --> --> Gum disease is ... yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated with ... by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition together ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ) ... CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at the ... New York . .   ... 5 minutes prior to the presentation to download or ... will be available on the website approximately one hour ...
Breaking Biology Technology: