Fisheries management systems around the world are highly diverse in their design, operation, and effectiveness at meeting objectives. A variety of management institutions, strategies, and tactics are used across disparate regions, fishing fleets, and taxonomic groups. At a global level, it is unclear which particular management attributes have greatest influence on the status of fished populations, and also unclear which external factors affect the overall success of fisheries management systems. We used expert surveys to characterize the management systems by species of 28 major fishing nations and examined influences of economic, geographic, and fishery-related factors. A Fisheries Management Index, which integrated research, management, enforcement, and socioeconomic attributes, showed wide variation among countries and was strongly affected by per capita gross domestic product (positively) and capacity-enhancing subsidies (negatively). Among 13 management attributes considered, three were particularly influential in whether stock size and fishing mortality are currently in or trending toward desirable states: extensiveness of stock assessments, strength of fishing pressure limits, and comprehensiveness of enforcement programs. These results support arguments that the key to successful fisheries management is the implementation and enforcement of science-based catch or effort limits, and that monetary investment into fisheries can help achieve management objectives if used to limit fishing pressure rather than enhance fishing capacity. Countries with currently less-effective management systems have the greatest potential for improving long-term stock status outcomes and should be the focus of efforts to improve fisheries management globally.
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster introduced an unprecedented discharge of oil into the deep Gulf of Mexico. Considerable uncertainty has persisted regarding the oil’s fate and effects in the deep ocean. In this work we assess the compound-specific rates of biodegradation for 125 aliphatic, aromatic, and biomarker petroleum hydrocarbons that settled to the deep ocean floor following release from the damaged Macondo Well. Based on a dataset comprising measurements of up to 168 distinct hydrocarbon analytes in 2,980 sediment samples collected within 4 y of the spill, we develop a Macondo oil “fingerprint” and conservatively identify a subset of 312 surficial samples consistent with contamination by Macondo oil. Three trends emerge from analysis of the biodegradation rates of 125 individual hydrocarbons in these samples. First, molecular structure served to modulate biodegradation in a predictable fashion, with the simplest structures subject to fastest loss, indicating that biodegradation in the deep ocean progresses similarly to other environments. Second, for many alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons biodegradation occurred in two distinct phases, consistent with rapid loss while oil particles remained suspended followed by slow loss after deposition to the seafloor. Third, the extent of biodegradation for any given sample was influenced by the hydrocarbon content, leading to substantially greater hydrocarbon persistence among the more highly contaminated samples. In addition, under some conditions we find strong evidence for extensive degradation of numerous petroleum biomarkers, notably including the native internal standard 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane, commonly used to calculate the extent of oil weathering.