Marine zoning in the Pacific Ocean, in combination with other measures, could significantly improve numbers of heavily overfished bigeye tuna and improve local economies, a fish modelling study has found.
Scientists working at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC, Noumea, New Caledonia) and Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS, Toulouse, France), have found that a network of marine zones in the Pacific Ocean could be a more effective conservation measure than simply closing relatively small areas to some types of fishing. These marine zones, where different fishing activities are allowed in different areas, may have significant and widespread benefits for bigeye tuna numbers. Dr John Sibert of the University of Hawaii Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research is one of four scientists leading the study. After testing the effectiveness of a range of conservation measures with an ecosystem and fish population model, Dr Sibert says the team found that the most effective measures were to:
"We found that simply closing areas off to fishing doesn't work, because the boats just move their operations to neighbouring zones and fish even harder. It's going to need a combination of approaches," he says.
"The model will help people evaluate alternative policies to manage tropical tuna fisheries. Our predictions can help countries estimate how effective conservation measures might be, relative to any economic effects, and tailor measures to suit their goals. The advantage of this approach is that effects can be estimated locally, as well as for the stock as a whole."
Half the current bigeye tuna catch is by longline, which targets high-value tuna sold as fresh fish. These fish command a market premium and sell for over $10 per kilogram.
The other half is caught in purse-seine nets as incidental bycatch when aiming to catch skipjack tuna. These juvenile bigeye tuna are sold to the canning industry for $1.70 per kilogram.
Dr Sibert says the study calls for a complete economic valuation of the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery.
He says the most effective conservation measures are those "which protect fish throughout their lifetime."
Rebuilding the bigeye-tuna stock will take at least 15 years, and will be affected by any climate changes the ecosystems experience.
Sibert, J., I. Senina, P. Lehodey, and J. Hampton. 2012. Shifting from marine reserves to maritime zoning for conservation of Pacific bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus). PNAS 109(44): 18221.
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST:
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
A riverside in Nebraska is a welcome refuelling stop for these elegant birds migrating from Mexico to their breeding grounds
Deprived of sight, blind people manage to squeeze an amazing amount of information out of their other senses. Doing this requires their brains to do some reorganizing. To learn about some of these changes, scientists studied the brains of blind people ...
In 1973, American soldiers on the Mekong River in Laos killed and hauled ashore a massive 24-foot ribbon of a fish. It was the “Queen of the Naga,” claimed a postcard still widely circulated in Southeast Asia with the above ...
Bald eagles have made a comeback. See life in the nest now during peak nesting season.
Photos capture a river otter attacking a gator in a Florida river. The otter then feasted, witnesses say.
The 10-meter long Torvosaurus weighed up to five tons.
Researchers say the key to fighting superbugs is individualized treatment plans, and a new nanochip might pave the way
Some farmers have long sworn by mellow tunes to boost Bessie's milk production. The science is hardly conclusive. But a study hints at what might top the barnyard playlist. (Psst: They liked R.E.M.)
Craig Venter, the U.S. scientist who raced the U.S. government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.
Dr Dave Hone: The Daohugou Fauna is rich in dinosaurs, lizards, pterosaurs, salamanders and mammalsDr Dave Hone