July 31, 2009

Opposing groups agree on fishery cures

Overfishing threatens many species but a combination of steps could turn that around, two groups long at odds with each other said.

Marine ecologists and fisheries management scientists worked together for two years and published their findings Friday in the journal Science.

The researchers agreed solutions to overfishing lie not only in management techniques but also in the political will to apply them, even if it initially causes economic disruption, said a release from the U.S. National and Oceanic Fisheries Administration.

The researchers suggested that calculating how many fish in a given species can be caught in a given region without threatening the stock -- called maximum sustainable yield -- is less effective than a standard that considers the health of the wider marine environment.

The effort was led by Boris Worm, a marine ecologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Ray Hilborn, a professor of aquatic and fishery sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle.