World Fisheries At Maximum Capacity, Scientists Warn

November 21, 1997

After four decades in which landings increased by over 300 percent, most of the world's fisheries are now considered fully or heavily exploited, with many needing new management schemes to prevent collapse, warns a team of top fisheries scientists.

In a compendium of more than 25 peer-reviewed papers published this month by the American Fisheries Society, biologists and managers paint a picture of increasing demand of fish products and participation in fishing -- particularly in the developing world where more than 60 percent of the world's fish are now caught. Meanwhile, current fisheries operate at huge deficits and waste nearly a third of their catch.

Called Global Trends: Fisheries Management, the compendium documents how the overcapacity seen in fisheries today stems from a history of open access bolstered by active development and subsidization. This has lead to an increase in wasteful and destructive fishing practices, ranging from the Alaska groundfish fishery in which large industrial vessels compete in a massive "race for fish," to small-scale, tropical, artisanal fisheries where the use of poisons and dynamite is spreading.

Other trends noted include the growing use of individual transferable quotas (ITQs) which give property rights to fishers providing the incentive to sustain rather than over-exploit fisheries. ITQs, however, are not without controversy and are currently under a five-year moratorium in the U.S. The compendium also discusses the rise in aquaculture, which now accounts for 30 percent of the value of fishery production, and also looks at the influence of climate shifts on fish stocks.

"These changes are all associated with an evolution from the era when oceans and fisheries resources were considered so vast that they could not be damaged by mankind, to a future of sustainable use, we hope. The challenge is to successfully manage the transition to more rational fisheries. The status quo is not an option.," said Dr. Ellen Pikitch, director of fisheries programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, and lead editor of the compendium.



visit our website:

Wildlife Conservation Society

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 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