Thursday, July 30, 2009

Battling scientists reach consensus on health of global fish stocks

Lizzie Buchen in Nature: Fisheries scientists and conservation ecologists have put aside their differences to collaborate in a study of overexploited commercial fisheries. They say that such ecosystems can be revived and managed sustainably with existing techniques, but that these measures are being patchily applied around the world.

The study marks a rare consensus between the two fields. Both recognize that overfishing is a serious problem, but have disagreed strongly on how bad the situation is and what the most effective remedies might be.

Now, researchers from both sides of the debate have come together in a collaboration led by ecologist Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington, Seattle. They conclude that efforts to rein in overfishing are beginning to show success in several ecosystems, but they haven't yet reversed the global trend of depletion for individual fish stocks.

"It was quite surprising that the exploitation rate was decreasing in a number of ecosystems," says Worm. "This shows that we don't need to wait for someone to come up with a magical cure for exploitation. We already have the tools."….

Cod and halibut caught off the coast of Alaska, around 1927. As Sarah Palin says, North to the Future!

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