Reconsidering the Consequences of Selective Fisheries

Commission on Ecosystem Management, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-CEM), Fisheries Expert Group, Brussels, Belgium.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 03/2012; 335(6072):1045-7. DOI: 10.1126/science.1214594
Source: PubMed


Balanced fishing across a range of species, stocks, and sizes could mitigate adverse effects and address food security better than increased selectivity.

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    • "Pikitch et al. (2004) stated a need to derive and develop ecosystembased standards, reference points, and control rules analogous to single-species decision criteria. On the other hand, some fisheries scientists called for significant reforms in fisheries management methods that require the conventional paradigm to change, like shifting from selective fishing (where only specific species and sizes are harvested) to balanced exploitation (where fishing mortality is distributed across the widest possible range of species, stocks, and sizes in an ecosystem) (Garcia et al. 2012; Zhou et al. 2010) or to a benefits-oriented framework where social and economic benefits are maximized instead of harvest (Staples and Funge-Smith 2009). "
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    • "), is in accordance with the 'Balanced Harvest' principle suggested by Garcia et al. (2012) in order to mitigate the adverse effects of fishing on community structure and address food security. "

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    • "An alternative approach to managing selectivity and efficiency of fishing is 'balanced fishing' in which fishery resources are harvested in proportion to their availability and productivity (Garcia et al., 2012; Jacobsen et al., 2013). However, even a balanced fishing approach is expected to remain somewhat selective (Garcia et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stock assessments and resulting fishery management decisions may be highly sensitive to the assumed selectivity pattern and implied estimates of fishing efficiency of fisheries and resource surveys. Catchability and selectivity are typically estimated parameters in stock assessment. However, stock assessment models can mis-specify the form of selectivity or produce unrealistic estimates of catchability. Mis-specification of the form of size-selectivity may produce biased estimates of abundance and fishing mortality. Inaccuracies in estimates of catchability (the product of efficiency and availability) are inversely proportional to the resulting bias in stock size estimates. Field experiments can be used to examine the form of selectivity and to estimate efficiency, and the results can be used to directly inform those important parameters and to help avoid unrealistic estimates. We provide several examples to demonstrate the implications of selectivity and catchability on stock assessment and fishery management as well as how field observations can improve both assessment and management.
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