Excluding fishermen can harm fisheries

09 March 2012
Posted by Chris Smith.

The problem with fisheries management is that what a government decides will be best for conservation may not be best for the local people that rely on a fishery, and may in fact end up harming the fish stocks in the end. A study published in the February edition of Scientific Reports has shown just this in a Gulf corvina fishery off the coast of Mexico.Mexican fishing boats

Brad Erisman, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and his colleagues used tracking systems to figure out the exact movements of the spawning fish, and of the fishing vessels, over time. They found that the peak in fish catch coincided with the peak in spawning activity. 

Gulf corvina fishThe research suggests that this fishery is a difficult case, where a no-take zone is being ignored by local fishermen because they have no choice economically but to fish there. Brad pointed out that one thing we could take away from the study is that these fishermen are doing something illegal that is harming wildlife, but he wanted to bring out the issue that clearly the locals want to be involved in decisions on helping to preserve the fishery, and now that we have more information on exactly where and when these Gulf corvina spawn, hopefully this will help fisheries scientists, fishermen and local government come to a decision that they all agree on.

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