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

dy showed that out of several attributes analysed, the transparency with which scientific recommendations are turned into policy plays the strongest role in the fate of fisheries sustainability.

"Policy-making is at the centre of the entire process of fisheries management," explains co-author Marta Coll, at the Institut de Cinces del Mar in Spain. "If this is heavily influenced by political pressures or corruption, it is unlikely that good scientific advice will ever be translated into proper regulations. Similarly, authoritarism in this process is likely to reduce compliance with the resulting policies."

"Several examples provide evidence supporting the results of this study," says Carl Safina at the Blue Ocean Institute, who was not involved in the study. "Many developed countries, including the European Union, the United States and Canada, which have access to perhaps some of the best science available, have witnessed some of the most dramatic collapses known to us, such as the collapse of the cod and haddock in the early 1990s. All of this because of high pressures on the process of policy-making to increase catches, despite scientific advice to reduce them."

"A similar situation occurs with the quotas for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean," explains Safina. "In this case, concerns about the collapse of this stock have led scientists to recommend quotas that have been almost doubled due to strong pressures in the process of policy-making."

"For developing nations the situation is more regrettable, given that many of these countries, particularly in Africa and Oceania, face shortages in food supply," says coauthor Rashid Sumaila at the University of British Columbia. "We know, for instance, that in many of these nations, shark populations have been decimated as a result of shark fining. Unfortunately the regulation of this activity remains largely ineffective, most commonly as a result of corruption while generating or enforci
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Contact: Catherine Muir
cmuir@mathstat.dal.ca
902-494-2146
Dalhousie University
Source:Eurekalert

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