Commercial Fisheries

Scott Church
A Policy for Oceans: Suddenly there is hope for marine fishPDF Version
Ted Williams, Audubon, Nov, 2003
This article by freelance environmental writer Ted Williams discusses the Pew Oceans report linked above and its implications for marine life, ocean fisheries, and ecosystems. Williams, who is a regular contributor to magazines such as Fly Rod & Reel and Audubon, is known for his thorough research and no-nonsense style of writing. In this article, which was first published in the Nov. 2003 edition of Fly Rod & Reel, discusses the impact of high seas fisheries on marine ecosystems, overfishing, and how short-sightedness by the fisheries industry and many policy makers has contributed to the bleak state of the world's oceans. He also discusses how new proposals for ocean management are offering much hope for recovery. This article is reprinted here with his kind permission. A full collection of his writings is available in my Ted Williams Archive.
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas
NRC, 1997
America's ocean and coastal regions - which provide wildlife habitat, commercial fish stocks, mineral reserves, travel ways, recreation, and more—are under increasing pressure as more and more people exploit marine resources, leaving environmental damage in their wake. This 1997 book from the National Research Council arm of the National Academy of Sciences discusses the state of scientific knowledge on the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems and the urgency for sound decision making in the management of marine resources. An expert committee proposes principles, goals, and a framework for marine area governance, including new governance structures at the federal and regional levels and improvements for existing governing and regulatory systems. Recommendations include using tools—such as zoning and liability—for resolving conflicts between users, controlling access to marine resources, and enforcing regulations.
Bottom Trawling
Disturbance of the Seabed by Mobile Fishing Gear: A Comparison to Forest Clearcutting
Lindholm et al. 2001. Jour. of Soc. for Conservation Biology, 15 (2), pp. 424-437
This paper from is yet another in a wealth of research that demonstrates the devastating effect of commercial deep trawling on marine biodiversity and fish populations.
Effects of Otter Trawling on a Benthic Community in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Engel, J. and R. Kvitek. 1998. Conservation Biology, 120 (6), Pg. 1204
This 1998 paper examines the impact of bottom trawling generated sediment suspension on the benthic environments of the Gulf of Maine and documents how they are degraded by this activity. Other effects are also explored including habitat alteration that shifts selection to opportunistic species, upsetting the natural balance of ocean floor ecosystems.
Significance of Bottom-Fishing Disturbance
Kaiser, MJ. 2006. Conservation Biology, 12, 6, pg. 1230
This 1998 paper by Kaiser examines the long term significance of bottom trawling on marine environments that are not subjected to long-term fishing activity. Kaiser examines the significance of bottom trawling in the North Sea and concludes that long-term changes are probably restricted to long-lived fragile species or communities found in environments that are infrequently disturbed by natural phenomena. He suggests ways to monitor fishing activity so as to limit the damage done under these circumstances.
Marine Protected Areas
History and Application of the Wilderness Concept in Marine Conservation
Sloan, NA. 2002. Conservation Biology, 12 (6), pp. 294-305
These papers from the journal Conservation Biology discuss the importance of No-Take Zones in National Marine Sanctuaries for marine biodiversity (which includes gamefish and commercial food fish and shellfish) and how commercial and recreation special interest are often successful in limiting such zones in a manner that has a direct impact on the Sanctuaries' effectiveness. They also discuss the very real impact such zones can have on coastal communities and what can be done about this.


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