I recently wrote about new trends in certification of sustainable fisheries.
Fisheries worldwide are in trouble, both ecologically and economically.
According to a new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), that trouble does not have to be long term. The study asks what meaningful and successful reform to fisheries would look like and what tradeoffs would be acceptable.
It was conducted by a collaboration of researchers from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in Santa Barbara, the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences in Seattle, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Using a massive database, numerous models, and truly extensive statistical methods, 4500 global fisheries are analyzed with consideration of various goals of different countries (consumption, profit, etc.). The conclusion of this research is that with changes in rights of access to fisheries and management practices, significant recoveries can be made as quickly as one decade down the road.
Despite the grand scale of the study, its primary focus is in East and Southeast Asia. It looks ahead all the way to the year 2050 and compares three possible approaches to fishery reform: the continuation of businessasusual policies, the maximization of longterm catch, and the maximization of the economic value of fisheries by using a rightsbased fishery management approach (RBFM).
As it may be expected, the RBFM approach is found to be most successful when applied everywhere or only to those already identified as needing greater attention to ecology. These policies should lower the costs of production and raise the quality of the product.
Examples of RBFM policies are the use of cooperatives, territorial rights for individuals or communities, and catch quotas.
Costello, C., Ovando, D., Clavelle, T., Strauss, C. K., Hilborn, R., Melnychuk, M. C., … & Rader, D. N. (2016). Global fishery prospects under contrasting management regimes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201520420.