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Marine reserves help solve bycatch problem in oceans

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07 Aug 2017 UC Davis see full article at ScienceDaily

Commercial fishermen may be able to catch more of the profitable fish they want with marine reserves than without them, according to a study…


Bycatch, where one species is unintentionally caught in pursuit of another species, is one of the most ubiquitous and crippling challenges in global fisheries. The usual solution is to dramatically reduce take of the target species to allow “weak stock” persistence. Using a general strategic model, we show that establishing areas closed to fishing can alleviate, or even completely eliminate, this problem [of bycatch]. If the weak stock is long-lived, but slow to reproduce, significantly higher yields can be obtained by using reserves than by using fishing effort controls alone. We emphasize that this is the problem plaguing the US West Coast groundfish fishery, suggesting that in that fishery, marine reserves may be a solution that simultaneously benefits fishermen and conservation.

Alan Hastings, Steven D. Gaines, and Christopher Costello. Marine reserves solve an important bycatch problem in fisheries. PNAS August 2017. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1705169114



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