Once again we discover that thefishery responds wonderfully to a real regulatory regime. That the fishermen cannot organize themselves in the first place is unfortunate. That they actually could has been proven often. You merely select a geographic area forfishery management and organize all stakeholders and make it a priority to optimizeit all.
Seine nets were banned decadesago in the
Great Lakes because they wereclearly stupid. In time that fisherywill be huge although plenty needs to be done.
At least today, every country hasorganized the scientists to measure and make recommendations. This means that ignorance is fastdisappearing and behind it we get improving husbandry. So this story is telling us a very optimistictale. Science came, science saw, scienceconquered. Perhaps we need to stoptaking those negative stories seriously at all.
by Staff Writers
Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society'sMarine Program, said: "This important comparison of various fisheriesmanagement systems over time demonstrates the critical need to move pastunregulated open-access fishing in resource poor countries around the world.This empirical evidence demonstrates how both fishers and theirsupporting ecosystems canand do benefit from restrictions and improved management,"
Marine conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society working in
During a 10-year study, conservationists recording fish catches foundthat the implementation of fishing regulations-and particularly the banning ofsmall-mesh seine nets that indiscriminately capture all fish-allowedpractically all fish species to recover, especially those species that tooklonger to reproduce.
Fish communities in regulated sites also had a greater diversity ofpredatory fish species and those with longer life spans. Even in unregulatedareas there were small improvements to the fish community.
The study appears in the February print version of Fisheries Managementand Ecology.The authors of the study include Dr. Tim McClanahan of the WildlifeConservation Society and Christina Hicks of
James Cook Universityin . Australia
The study examined the effects of increasing fisheries management andfishing gear restrictions in 11 coral reef sites along the 75-kilometer stretchof Kenyan coast around the city of
for a 10-year period. Mombasa
The wholesale removal of fine-mesh seine nets was implemented in sixsites to the south of
,all of which were more than 30 kilometers away from areas closed to fishing. Mombasa -a landing site andpopular tourist destination near Mombasa Marine National Park-served as the study'smost intensively regulated site. Kenyatta Beach
The northernmost sites, where fishermen continued to use seine nets inspite of restrictions, were within five kilometers of the fisheries closurezones. In addition to seine nets, other types of gear examined in the studywere traps, lines, regular nets, and spears.
"The study shows that regulating coastal fisheries allows fishpopulations to recover in a number of predictable ways that correspond withknowledge of the biology andecological characteristics of individual species, but also that the recoverywas faster then predicted for some species," said Dr. Tim McClanahan, WCSSenior Conservationist and head of the society's coral reef research andconservation program.
From February 1998 to August 2007, researchers identified and measuredindividual fish from 152 species caught at each of the 11 sites-with 15 speciesrepresenting approximately 90 percent of the data pool-as well as recording thegear used.
On average, all fish species from regulated sites over the course ofthe study increased in body length over time, with two species-the rabbitfish(averaging a short lifespan of 5.9 years) and seagrass parrotfish (averaging aintermediate lifespan of 7.7 years)-exhibiting the most significant sizeincreases following fishing regulations.
The unregulated northern sites were dominated by short-livedherbivorous species and the very few species that were able to escape the gapsof small-meshed nets.
Predictably, the largest and longest lived fish were landed at the mostregulated site (Kenyatta), and the smallest in the least regulated. Further,spears and gill nets caught the largest fish in the study, whereas the smallestwere caught in seines and lines. Also, fish body lengths in the sites whereseine net bans were implemented and enforced during the study were growing tothe same lengths as fish from the most regulated site by the end of the study.
Dr. McClanahan said the improvements even in the unregulated areassuggest that strong management can improve conditions in adjacent areas wheremanagement is weak.
"This can lead to either free loading on the nearby strongermanagement or increased interests in participating in the improved management,depending on the interests, incentives, and organization of the fishing andmanagement community," McClanahan said.
The study builds on a previous WCS study from the same sites on thecosts and revenues of local fisheries along the coast of
, which was published lastyear in Conservation Biology and demonstrated that effective fisheriesmanagement actually yields more profits for fishermen. In terms of income,fishermen working in Kenyatta experienced a 60 percent increase in revenue(from 224 up to 374 Kenya shillings, or $3 up to $5) following the beach seine ban in 2001. Kenya
By contrast, daily income in the northern sites averaged $2 per personbetween 2002-2007. Overall, fishing revenue in the southern landing sites (allof which banned beach seines during the study period) was 41 percent higherthan northern coast sites with the beach seines; Kenyatta's fishing revenueclimbed to 135 percent higher than northern sites after seine elimination.
Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society'sMarine Program, said: "This important comparison of various fisheriesmanagement systems over time demonstrates the critical need to move pastunregulated open-access fishing in resource poor countries around the world.This empirical evidence demonstrates how both fishers and their supportingecosystems can and do benefit from restrictions and improved management."