20 Mar 2012:
Local Fisheries Management
Helps Prevent Overfishing, Study Says
A new study says that co-management of fisheries at the local level is an effective strategy for curbing overfishing
and preserving the world’s dwindling marine resources. In an analysis of 42 coral reef sites where the fisheries are managed by a partnership of local governments, conservation groups, and
fishers, an international team of scientists found that co-management has been largely successful in sustaining fisheries and improving livelihoods. According to their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
, more than half of the fishers surveyed said the strategy was “positive” for their livelihoods (compared with 9 percent who said it has a “negative” effect), and co-managed reefs were half as likely to be heavily overfished. But if the sites are located near large markets, the study said, the fisheries are far more likely to be overharvested. The researchers studied local fisheries in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. “People often assume that local population size is the main driver of overfishing — but our research shows that access to global markets and seafood dependence are more important, and provide possible levers of action,” said Nicholas Graham, a researcher at the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence and one of the authors of the study.
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