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Using Marine Reserves as a Tool to Reduce Bycatch and Increase Profits

Source: Phys.org/UC Davis - August 8, 2017 in Environment

Using Marine Reserves as a Tool to Reduce Bycatch and Increase Profits
Photo: Srdjan Marincic/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Commercial fishermen may be able to catch more of the profitable fish they want with marine reserves than without them, according to a study in the journal PNAS led by the University of California, Davis. Using marine reserves as a management tool could also help the recently rebounded West Coast groundfish fishery sustain itself, the study notes.

Marine reserves are a subset of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Some MPAs allow fishing, but  are areas of the ocean closed to fishing and other extractive activities.

While it may sound counterintuitive, the study shows that marine reserves can allow fishermen to catch more of the profitable  they want while protecting the weaker fish that can be caught inadvertently by indiscriminate fishing gear. These untargeted fish are called bycatch, which is one of the most crippling challenges facing global fisheries.

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