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“TECHNO-FIXES ALONE WON’T SOLVE BYCATCH ISSUES ON AN OVERFISHED PLANET: Finding ‘Common Ground’ Requires Everyone Accepting Their Role in the Problem

I was invited to participate on a panel called “Finding Common Ground in Fisheries Management” at the International Sea Turtle Symposium this week, and I entitled my opening statement,

“TECHNO-FIXES ALONE WON’T SOLVE BYCATCH ISSUES ON AN OVERFISHED PLANET: Finding ‘Common Ground’ Requires Everyone Accepting Their Role in the Problem

Here is part of what I had to say…

For fisheries, sea turtles are the “canary in the coal mine” that we ignore at our own peril. In order to find common ground (between fishers and the environmental community) all of us must recognize and accept our individual and collective role in the problem. In my experience, the fishing industry often fails to accept, and the general public is generally unaware of the following well-established facts:

A. Overfishing by humans is one of the fundamental causes of the decline of marine species;

B. Global fish stocks are in major decline and current levels of global fisheries are not sustainable.

C. There are “too many vessels chasing too few fish.” The lost economic benefit to fishers (and society) caused by overfishing (calculated for yr. 2004 by the World Bank) was estimated at ~$50 billion.

Solutions to bycatch reduction must seek to secure healthy marine ecosystems. In addition to using all the best available bycatch reduction “devices,” the solutions must include:
(1) significant reduction of global fishing effort;
(2) no-fishing marine preserves;
(3) time-area closures;
(4) banning the use of the most destructive fishing technology; and
(5) adequate enforcement.

You can read my entire abstract at: http://www.seaturtles.org/downloads/Steiner%20ISTS%20Panel%20abstractV-Fin2.pdf