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Scientists question fisheries health test
Date:11/24/2010

"We also found that average trophic level determined from fishery catches does not reliably measure the magnitude of fishing impacts or the rate at which marine ecosystems are being altered by fishing."

Dr Tracey says global fisheries are at a crucial turning point, with high fishing pressure being offset in some regions by rebuilding efforts. Relying on the average trophic level of catch could mislead policy development.

Dr Fulton said that, to target limited resources in the best way, researchers should focus on assessing species vulnerable to fishing that are not currently assessed effectively

"We also need to develop and expan trend-detection methods that can be applied more widely, particularly to countries with few resources for science and assessment.

"Through such efforts we can better detect and convey the true impact of fisheries on marine biodiversity," Dr Fulton said.

Led by University of Washington fisheries scientist, Trevor A. Branch, the study's findings are published in a letter in Nature entitled: "The trophic fingerprint of marine fisheries".


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Contact: Bryony Bennett
bryony.bennett@csiro.au
61-362-325-261
CSIRO Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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