Current Problems in the Management of Marine Fisheries

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Science  22 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5832, pp. 1713-1716
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137362

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The public perception of fisheries is that they are in crisis and have been for some time. Numerous scientific and popular articles have pointed to the failures of fisheries management that have caused this crisis. These are widely accepted to be overcapacity in fishing fleets, a failure to take the ecosystem effects of fishing into account, and a failure to enforce unpalatable but necessary reductions in fishing effort on fishing fleets and communities. However, the claims of some analysts that there is an inevitable decline in the status of fisheries is, we believe, incorrect. There have been successes in fisheries management, and we argue that the tools for appropriate management exist. Unfortunately, they have not been implemented widely. Our analysis suggests that management authorities need to develop legally enforceable and tested harvest strategies, coupled with appropriate rights-based incentives to the fishing community, for the future of fisheries to be better than their past.

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