Seagrass is a key fishing ground globally

November 17, 2017

New research demonstrates that seagrass meadows are important fishing grounds all around the globe. The work highlights that there is an urgent need to start appreciating and understanding this role to be able to build more sustainable fisheries. A study led by Dr Lina Mtwana Nordlund at Stockholm University, published in the scientific journal Fish & Fisheries, examines the global extent to which these underwater meadows support fishing activity.

"If there is seagrass and people there is most certainly fishing. It doesn't matter if it is a country with high or low human development, fishing occurs. But the reasons for fishing and the target species vary" says Dr Nordlund who is based at Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Science at Stockholm University in Sweden.

In countries with a low human development index score seagrass fishery activity tends to target anything one can find that can be eaten, sold or used as bait. These seagrass fisheries have a major significance for daily food supply and livelihoods. In countries with a very high human development index score, seagrass fisheries are more commonly recreational with specific species targeted, such as clams. The research highlights that nearly every type of fishing gear is used within seagrass fisheries.

"The ecological value of seagrass meadows is irrefutable, yet their loss continues at an accelerating rate. Now there is growing evidence globally that many fisheries associated to seagrass are unrecorded, unreported and unmanaged, leading to a tragedy of the seagrass commons" says co-author Dr Richard Unsworth, Swansea University.

The researchers from Stockholm University, Cardiff University and Swansea University highlight that because seagrass is generally found nearshore in shallow sheltered environments, it creates an accessible fishing ground in nearly all weather conditions.

The authors have studied seagrass fisheries all around the world from the Philippines, to USA, Indonesia, the Turks & Caicos Islands and locations in the Mediterranean. "Seagrass meadows are being damaged and degraded globally and urgent action is needed to stem the loss of seagrass meadows. Their importance as a key fishing ground is yet another reason why we need to start appreciating the value of seagrass" says Dr Mtwana Nordlund.
-end-
Their paper - Global significance of seagrass fishery activity - is available (Open Access) to read here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12259/full

A popular science summary of the paper is available here: https://linamtwananordlund.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/seagrass-is-a-key-fishing-ground-globally/

Contact: Lina.Mtwana.Nordlund@su.se or phone +255774881238 (Tanzania)

Stockholm University

Related Fisheries Articles from Brightsurf:

Assessing El Niño's impact on fisheries and aquaculture around the world
New report presents the main regional consequences caused by the five types of the climate pattern.

Dissolved oxygen and pH policy leave fisheries at risk
In a Policy Forum, ''Dissolved oxygen and pH criteria leave fisheries at risk'' published in the April 24 issue of the journal Science, Stony Brook University's Dr.

Fisheries management is actually working, global analysis shows
Nearly half of the fish caught worldwide are from stocks that are scientifically monitored and, on average, are increasing in abundance.

Meeting the challenges facing fisheries climate risk insurance
Insurance schemes with the potential to improve the resilience of global fisheries face a host of future challenges, researchers say.

Healthy mangroves help coral reef fisheries under climate stress
Healthy mangroves can help fight the consequences of climate change on coral reef fisheries, according to a University of Queensland-led study.

Study champions inland fisheries as rural nutrition hero
Researchers from MSU and the FAO synthesize new data and assessment methods to show how freshwater fish feed poor rural populations in many areas of the world.

For global fisheries, it's a small world after all
Even though many nations manage their fish stocks as if they were local resources, marine fisheries and fish populations are a single, highly interconnected and globally shared resource, a new study emphasizes.

New study maps how ocean currents connect the world's fisheries
It's a small world after all -- especially when it comes to marine fisheries, with a new study revealing they form a single network, with over $10 billion worth of fish each year being caught in a country other than the one in which it spawned.

Federal subsidies for US commercial fisheries should be rejected
A pending rule change proposed by the US National Marine Fisheries Service would allow the use of public funds to underwrite low-interest loans for the construction of new commercial fishing vessels.

Sustainable fisheries and conservation policy
There are roughly five times as many recreational fishers as commercial fishers throughout the world.

Read More: Fisheries News and Fisheries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.