With better fishing practices, fish populations could double by 2050.
Fish population has declined significantly over the past few decades. Commercial fish stock such as tuna, mackerel and bonito has fallen by almost 75% and presents a grim picture of the fisheries' future.
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New research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that majority of the world fisheries could be saved and in a surprisingly short period of time. With better fish practices, fisheries which feed billions of people worldwide can be recovered and fish population could be doubled by 2050.
Currently, only one-third of fisheries are in a good biological shape but they can grow from around 47% today to 77% within just 10 years.
Implementation of institutional reforms such as secure fishing access right would yield significant results for fisheries worldwide. In addition to recovering fish populations, it could bring a 204 percent increase in profits for fishermen by 2050.
“We find that, in nearly every country of the world, fishery recovery would simultaneously drive increases in food provision, fishery profits, and fish biomass in the sea.” Authors wrote in the study.
For the study, researchers from the Environmental Defense Fund, the University of Washington and the University of California, Santa Barbara analyzed 4,713 fisheries worldwide, accounting for 78% of the world’s annual catch. Researchers estimated the current biological status , calculated year by year effects of alternative recovery approaches and forecasted their impact on catch, profit and fish population in the ocean.
Researchers found that most of fisheries are in bad shape even those which are considered in a healthy biological shape were economically not too much beneficial. Substantial management reforms could dramatically improve overall fish abundance in a short amount of time.
“Our results suggest that a suite of approaches providing individual or communal access rights to fishery resources can align incentives across profit, food and conservation so that few trade-offs will have to be made across these objectives in selecting effective policy interventions.” Study concludes.