The Great News:
New research has been presenting improved fishing that could potentially improve the health of wild fisheries. Some say the global fish populations could even double by 2050.
“This research shows that we really can have our fish and eat them, too,” said lead author Christopher Costello, a professor of environmental and resource economics at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. “We no longer need to see ocean fisheries as a series of trade-offs. In fact, we show that we can have more fish in the water, more food on the plate and more prosperous fishing communities — and it can happen relatively quickly.”
This study was conducted by researchers in Santa Barbra, The University of Washington, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
They conducted multiple variables and equations to come up with 77% of the world’s fisheries biomass could double.
The researchers used a huge database of 4,713 fisheries representing 78 percent of the ocean’s catch.
“We’ve uncovered a really important insight: There is urgency and a tremendous upside in reforming thousands of small-scale, community fisheries around the world,” said co-author Ray Hilborn, a professor of marine biology and fisheries science at the University of Washington. “The research adds to the body of work showing that most of the world’s large fisheries are doing relatively well, but it emphasizes the critical need to rebuild local fisheries, most of which are in the developing world where millions depend on fisheries for food and their livelihoods.”
The researchers have concluding that reforms on sanctioned fishing rights are critical to provide benefits to increase fish populations and food production.
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“We now have a clear roadmap for how to recover fisheries: Give fishermen secure fishing rights so they can control and protect their future,” said co-author Amanda Leland, senior vice president for oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Countries from the U.S. to Belize to Namibia are leading a turnaround by implementing secure fishing rights and realizing benefits for people and the oceans.”
Since 2000, overfishing in U.S. federal waters has dropped by 70% also the number of species managed by fishing rights have increased four times the normal amount. In the past three years, fishing jobs have increased by 31% and fishing revenues have grown by 44%.
“Our research reveals a stark choice: Either manage fisheries sustainably and realize the tremendous potential of the world’s oceans, or allow the status quo to continue to draw down the natural capital of our oceans,” said Costello.