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Policy transparency key to saving world's fisheries
Date:6/22/2009

The sustainability of fisheries depends on the transparency with which coastal states incorporate scientific advice into policies, reports a study led by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and published in the journal PLoS Biology.

A new study provides the first global evaluation of how management practices influence fisheries' sustainability. The study assessed the effectiveness of the world's fisheries management regimes using evaluations by nearly 1,200 fisheries experts and analyzing these in combination with data on the sustainability of fisheries catches. The results indicated that most fisheries management regimes are lagging far behind standards set by international organizations, and that the conversion of scientific advice into policy, through a participatory and transparent process, plays the most critical role in determining the sustainability of fisheries.

"The world's fisheries are one of the most important natural assets to humankind," says lead author Camilo Mora, a Colombian researcher at Dalhousie University and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. "Unfortunately, our use of the world's fisheries has been excessive and has led to the decline or collapse of many stocks."

According to the most recent report on the status of the world's fisheries by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, fisheries supply at least 15% of the animal protein consumed by humans, provide direct and indirect employment for nearly 200 million people worldwide and generate $US85 billion annually. This same report indicates that 28% of the world's fisheries stocks are currently being overexploited or have collapsed and 52% are fully exploited.

"The consequences of overexploiting the world's fisheries are a concern not only for food security and socio-economic development but for ocean ecosystems," says Boris Worm, a professor at Dalhousie University
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Contact: Catherine Muir
cmuir@mathstat.dal.ca
902-494-2146
Dalhousie University
Source:Eurekalert

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