Scientists Conclude That Culling Whales Will Not Help Fisheries in Tropical Regions
Science Article Weighs in on International Whaling Commission Debate
Many countries in
“Our models unequivocally show that removing whales would not significantly increase the amount of commercially valuable fish,” said Dr.
“The assertion that whales are competing with fisheries for food is, on the surface, very persuasive, because it seems intuitive that these large animals must be consuming enormous amounts of food,” said Dr.
The authors constructed ecosystem models, which account for feeding interactions between whales and fish, to understand the role that baleen whales play in tropical marine ecosystems in
“An ocean ecosystem is greater than the sum of its parts. Removing whales from the equation does not increase the number of fish and impacts the health of the overall system,” said Dr. Lyne Morissette, an author based at the Institut des Sciences de la Mer de
The researchers suggest these results underscore the important role of science in policy decisions about whales and fisheries interactions. They also emphasize that the goal of ecosystem-based management should not be to manipulate individual components of food webs in an attempt to maximize the amount of fish to catch, but to manage the whole system for long-term sustainability.
“All countries should adopt leadership roles in a common effort to manage our fisheries better,” said Dr.
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The Lenfest Ocean Program supports scientific research aimed at forging solutions to the challenges facing the global marine environment. The program was established in 2004 by the Lenfest Foundation and is managed by the Pew Environment Group.
SOURCE Lenfest Ocean Program