Protecting marine mammals, turtles, and birds by rebuilding global fisheries

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 7:28pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 03/2018
Authors: Matthew Burgess, Grant McDermott, Brandon Owashi, Lindsey Reeves, Tyler Clavelle, Daniel Ovando, Bryan Wallace, Rebecca Lewison, Steven Gaines, Christopher Costello
Journal title: Science
Volume: 359
Issue: 6381
Pages: 1255 - 1258
ISSN: 0036-8075

Reductions in global fishing pressure are needed to end overfishing of target species and maximize the value of fisheries. We ask whether such reductions would also be sufficient to protect non–target species threatened as bycatch. We compare changes in fishing pressure needed to maximize profits from 4713 target fish stocks—accounting for >75% of global catch—to changes in fishing pressure needed to reverse ongoing declines of 20 marine mammal, sea turtle, and seabird populations threatened as bycatch. We project that maximizing fishery profits would halt or reverse declines of approximately half of these threatened populations. Recovering the other populations would require substantially greater effort reductions or targeting improvements. Improving commercial fishery management could thus yield important collateral benefits for threatened bycatch species globally.

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