Traditional Practice Of Periodic Harvest Could Maximize Fisheries Outcomes·
A new study led by a University of Rhode Island doctoral student and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology has found a possible solution to one of the biggest conservation and livelihood challenges in the marine realm.
Paul Carvalho, along with URI Assistant Professor Austin Humphries and colleagues from several other institutions, found that fishing grounds with areas that are closed to fisheries but are periodically harvested are better than fishing grounds with permanent, no-take marine protected areas.
Further, they found that such “pulse” harvest marine protected areas also perform better than traditional measures that aim to keep fisheries at maximum sustainable yield.
Carvalho said that this study could help revolutionize fisheries management and settle a long-running debate between fisheries management and conservation sectors about the role of marine protected areas in balancing potential for stock recovery and maintaining yields.
“We were impressed by how well periodic closures continued to perform under different scenarios,” said Carvalho, who conducted the research while studying at California Polytechnic State University. “Across a large range of closure durations, closure sizes, fish population growth rates and movement patterns, fishing grounds with periodic closures consistently gave the best combined outcomes for stock, yield and catch efficiency.”
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