Special Articles

The Management of Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems

Science  25 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5325, pp. 509-515
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.509

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Abstract

The global marine fish catch is approaching its upper limit. The number of overfished populations, as well as the indirect effects of fisheries on marine ecosystems, indicate that management has failed to achieve a principal goal, sustainability. This failure is primarily due to continually increasing harvest rates in response to incessant sociopolitical pressure for greater harvests and the intrinsic uncertainty in predicting the harvest that will cause population collapse. A more holistic approach incorporating interspecific interactions and physical environmental influences would contribute to greater sustainability by reducing the uncertainty in predictions. However, transforming the management process to reduce the influence of pressure for greater harvest holds more immediate promise.

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