Shifting gears: assessing collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters

Problems with fisheries are usually associated with overfishing; in other words, with the deployment of “too many” fishing gears. However, overfishing is not the only problem. Collateral impacts of fishing methods on incidental take (bycatch) and on habitats are also cause for concern. Assessing collateral impacts, through integrating the knowledge of a wide range of fisheries stakeholders, is an important element of ecosystem management, especially when consensual results are obtained. This can be demonstrated using the “damage schedule approach” to elicit judgments from fishers, scientists, and managers on the severity of fishing gear impacts on marine ecosystems. The consistent ranking of fishing gears obtained from various respondents can serve as a basis for formulating fisheries policies that will minimize ecosystem impacts. Such policies include a shift to less damaging gears and establishing closed areas to limit collateral impacts.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 13:30