Degree of overfished marine populations influences ability to recover

Recovery of overexploited marine populations has been slow, and most remain below target biomass levels. Using a global meta-analysis of overfished stocks, a NCEAS Working Group finds that resilience of those stocks subjected to moderate levels of overfishing is enhanced, not compromised, offering the possibility of swift recovery. However, prolonged intense overexploitation, especially for collapsed stocks, not only delays rebuilding but also substantially increases the uncertainty in recovery times, despite predictable influences of fishing and life history. Timely and decisive reductions in harvest rates could mitigate this uncertainty. Instead, current harvest and low biomass levels render recovery improbable for the majority of the world’s depleted stocks.

Resilience and recovery of Overexploited Marine Populations 
Philipp Neubauer, Olar P. Jensen, Jeffery A. Hutchings, and Julia K. Baum. Sicence 19 April 2013: 340 (6130), 347-349. [DOI:10.1126/science.1230441] 

Following is a sample of the media coverage for this report: 

ABC News: Overfishing easing in some areas
BBC News: Fresh hope for world's fisheries
CNN: Fish stocks can recover if well managed, says study
Science Daily: New hope for fisheries: Overfishing reduced in several regions around the world


More information about this project's research, participants, and publications 

This work was supported by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a Center funded by NSF (Grant # EF-0553768) and the University of California, Santa Barbara. 




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Posted on November 20, 2013