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Early Warning System To Detect Future Fishery Decline

Emily Hughes
Researchers, Matt Burgess, Stephen Polasky, and David Tilman from the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences department have published a system to avoid overfishing certain ocean fishes. Overfishing and extinction can be avoided years before populations begin to decline or are overharvested, by going through an early warning system called the Eventual Threat Index. This system focuses on multispecies; if one fate can be predicted in the species then the rest can as well. Researchers need to view threats early and predict how they might effect a population to avoid problems in the future. Researchers can collect data from other economically popular fish population such as their population size, growth rates, and catch rates to see what the effects on other fish might be. The system has been tested on declining pacific tuna and billfish and proved that scientists could have predicted the declines as early as the 1950s. This is very beneficial to fishery managers and easy to accomplish to aid in the prevention of declining fisheries.