Friday, August 7, 2009
Can Overfishing be Reversed?
A widely-discussed study is claiming that depleted fish stocks can be replenished, giving many a reason to celebrate. The authors in the study caution, however, that most of the world's fisheries are not subject to the kinds of management and regulation that they found could help restore fisheries. Many of the measures that were found to work, such as catch limits, no-take reserves, and special fishing gear are often strongly opposed by fishing interests and thus difficult to put in place. Perhaps this evidence that such measures work will convince fishers that the long-term payoff for the temporary pain inflicted by stricter fishing regulations is worth it. Although, many continue to deny that overfishing is all that widespread or serious, so we'll have to see. Will scientific evidence, even when it can benefit the long-term viability of commercial fishing, continue to be ignored by governments and fisheries management bodies?