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Want Sustainable Fishing? Keep Only Small Fish, And Let The Big Ones Go

Date:
December 1, 2008
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Scientists analyzed fisheries data to determine the effect of the "keep the large ones" policy that is typical of fisheries. What they found is that the effect of this policy is an unsustainable fishery.

Large mouth bass in a lake. A fish population will produce more young -- and therefore sustain more fishing -- if it is made up of big, old fish.
Credit: iStockphoto/Judy Ledbetter

Scientists at the University of Toronto analysed Canadian fisheries data to determine the effect of the "keep the large ones" policy that is typical of fisheries. What they found is that the effect of this policy is an unsustainable fishery.

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In fact, the opposite policy (keep the small young ones and throw back the large old ones) would result in a more sustainable fishery. In short -- a big fish in the water is worth two in the net.

Put simply, a fish population will produce more young -- and therefore sustain more fishing -- if it is made up of big, old fish.

The team of scientists, led by Paul Venturelli, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, used a simple population model, as well as evaluating data from 25 marine fish species. They also tailored their methods to allow for other possible causes for the results, such as the effect of climate.

Finding ways to replenish fishery stocks and improve management provides both ecological and financial benefits.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Want Sustainable Fishing? Keep Only Small Fish, And Let The Big Ones Go." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081130210013.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2008, December 1). Want Sustainable Fishing? Keep Only Small Fish, And Let The Big Ones Go. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081130210013.htm
University of Toronto. "Want Sustainable Fishing? Keep Only Small Fish, And Let The Big Ones Go." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081130210013.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

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