Science 31 July 2009:
Vol. 325. no. 5940, pp. 578 - 585
Rebuilding Global Fisheries
Boris Worm,1,* Ray Hilborn,2,* Julia K. Baum,3 Trevor A. Branch,2 Jeremy S. Collie,4 Christopher Costello,5 Michael J. Fogarty,6 Elizabeth A. Fulton,7 Jeffrey A. Hutchings,1 Simon Jennings,8,9 Olaf P. Jensen,2 Heike K. Lotze,1 Pamela M. Mace,10 Tim R. McClanahan,11 Cóilín Minto,1 Stephen R. Palumbi,12 Ana M. Parma,13 Daniel Ricard,1 Andrew A. Rosenberg,14 Reg Watson,15 Dirk Zeller15
After a long history of overexploitation, increasing efforts to restore marine ecosystems and rebuild fisheries are under way. Here, we analyze current trends from a fisheries and conservation perspective. In 5 of 10 well-studied ecosystems, the average exploitation rate has recently declined and is now at or below the rate predicted to achieve maximum sustainable yield for seven systems. Yet 63% of assessed fish stocks worldwide still require rebuilding, and even lower exploitation rates are needed to reverse the collapse of vulnerable species. Combined fisheries and conservation objectives can be achieved by merging diverse management actions, including catch restrictions, gear modification, and closed areas, depending on local context. Impacts of international fleets and the lack of alternatives to fishing complicate prospects for rebuilding fisheries in many poorer regions, highlighting the need for a global perspective on rebuilding marine resources.