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New paper in Science introduces revolutionary new paradigm for fishery management

MIAMI, July 16, 2004 ~ Seventeen of the world's top marine scientists today unveiled a plan that seeks to avert the collapse of fish populations by focusing on managing the entire ecosystem rather than one species at a time. The new management regime, coined "Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management," is detailed in the July 16 issue of Science (vol. 305, no. 5682, July 16) and is the first step toward revolutionizing the way fisheries are managed to ensure long-lasting sustainability.

This significant advancement would overturn the paradigm of maximizing the catch of individual species that has prevailed for more than half a century. National legislation to promote the use of ecosystem-based fishery management is expected by September in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The consensus statement by prominent fishery experts representing 14 research institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, delineates an inclusive approach to fishery management that would balance economic and environmental concerns. It places paramount importance on the overall health of ecosystems, and then considers factors such as predator-prey relationships among species, the quality of the habitat they rely upon, the direct and indirect effects of fish capture methods, and finally, the target species itself.

"We've been putting blinders on, but it is now clear that single-species management is inadequate, and in many cases, destructive," says Dr. Ellen Pikitch, an internationally renowned fisheries scientist and the Executive Director and Professor with the Pew Institute for Ocean Science at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Pikitch, the lead author on the paper also noted: "An ecosystem-based approach is founded on the notion that robust fisheries depend upon healthy marine ecosystems."

Movement towards ecosystem-based approaches has been recommended by the Pew Oceans Commissi
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Contact: Jim Harper
jharper@rsmas.miami.edu
305-361-4165
Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation
15-Jul-2004


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