Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Raises Concerns About Proposed Mitigation Strategy For Marine Bycatch

Date:
June 24, 2008
Source:
University of California - Santa Cruz
Summary:
Huge numbers of fish, seabirds, and other marine animals are routinely killed and discarded after being inadvertently caught during fishing operations. Known as marine bycatch, this problem is an ongoing challenge to the fishing industry, regulatory agencies, and conservationists. One recent proposal would compensate for bycatch by reducing other impacts on affected species, but a new analysis suggests that this strategy could end up doing more harm than good.

Albatross and other seabird bycatch from a pelagic longline fishing vessel operating in South Africa for a period of one month in 2005.
Credit: Peter Ryan

Huge numbers of fish, seabirds, and other marine animals are routinely killed and discarded after being inadvertently caught during fishing operations. Known as marine bycatch, this problem is an ongoing challenge to the fishing industry, regulatory agencies, and conservationists.

One recent proposal would compensate for bycatch by reducing other impacts on affected species, but a new analysis suggests that this strategy could end up doing more harm than good.

A paper published last year in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment made the case for "compensatory mitigation" of fisheries bycatch, using seabird deaths caused by a longline fishery as an example. The authors suggested that eradicating rats from an island with seabird nesting colonies could have more benefits for a population of shearwaters than efforts to reduce bycatch in the longline fishery.

A number of seabird experts, however, were skeptical of the paper's findings. Given its potential influence on fishery policies, they decided the proposal warranted a careful evaluation.

"There are so many complexities involved in fisheries bycatch, we felt compelled to thoroughly examine the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and establish the criteria that would have to be met for it to work," said Myra Finkelstein, a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Finkelstein is the lead author of a paper published June 18 in the journal PLoS One that evaluates the potential effectiveness of compensatory mitigation for marine bycatch. She worked with a dozen coauthors whose areas of expertise include seabird conservation and ecology, marine bycatch, and mathematical modeling of wildlife populations. The researchers concluded that compensatory mitigation could only rarely succeed in reducing or offsetting the effects of marine bycatch.

"It's very difficult to make this work," Finkelstein said. "Most of the species threatened by bycatch evolved to live long and reproduce slowly. When bycatch kills adults, these populations just aren't capable of making up for it through increased reproduction. It really is about the bycatch."

Another major stumbling block is that bycatch typically involves a large variety of nontarget species, whereas compensatory mitigation actions are likely to affect only one or a few of those species.

"Marine bycatch is not a single-species problem," Finkelstein said. "So many nontarget species are caught in a given fishery that mitigating the effects on one species could lead to a bigger impact on other species."

The researchers also found flaws in the case study of flesh-footed shearwaters used to support the compensatory mitigation strategy in the original paper. But the bulk of the new paper is devoted to a set of five criteria for evaluating any proposals to implement such strategies. The researchers found that compensatory mitigation for marine bycatch is likely to be successful only in a limited number of situations. In many cases, they said, it has the potential to accelerate declines of marine species currently threatened by fisheries bycatch.

"These are complicated situations. We have to be very cautious, especially with critically endangered species, before we adopt a policy that allows continued mortality from bycatch," Finkelstein said.

The coauthors of the paper include Victoria Bakker, William Satterthwaite, and Robert Henry of UCSC; Daniel Doak of the University of Wyoming; Ben Sullivan and John Croxall of the BirdLife International Global Seabird Programme; Rebecca Lewison of San Diego State University; Peter McIntyre of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Shaye Wolf of the Center for Biological Diversity; David Priddel of the Australian Department of Environment and Climate Change; Jennifer Arnold of Pennsylvania State University; and Paul Sievert of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Cruz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Cruz. "New Study Raises Concerns About Proposed Mitigation Strategy For Marine Bycatch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617204522.htm>.
University of California - Santa Cruz. (2008, June 24). New Study Raises Concerns About Proposed Mitigation Strategy For Marine Bycatch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617204522.htm
University of California - Santa Cruz. "New Study Raises Concerns About Proposed Mitigation Strategy For Marine Bycatch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080617204522.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins