Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Australia - Paradigm Shift?

Shocking - GBRMPA assessment by the Australian Government.


And I cite.
We argue that users of shark resources should be responsible for demonstrating that a fishery is sustainable before exploitation is allowed to commence or continue. This fundamental change in management principle will safeguard against stock collapses that have characterised many shark fisheries.
I must say that I'm positively elated.
It's obviously only a recommendation and by no means what is being done in practice - yet! 
But like I've said here and continue to preach, we need to discuss this and hopefully, people will start considering and even implementing it - and having it mentioned in a scientific paper is simply fantastic!
I'm convinced that it's the fairest and most effective solution that will ultimately benefit everybody in the long term: the governments that will not anymore have to allocate all those resources to data collection but can divert them to monitoring, enforcement and prosecution; the fishermen that will stop fishing themselves into extinction; and of course also the species that are currently being overfished!

Great stuff - kudos!

PS - I just got myself the paper, and this is what it says.

Progress is being made in understanding the distribution, mobility, genetics and population structure of exploited sharks in the GBRMP. 
However, we argue that in poorly understood multi-species fisheries, the burden of proof needs to be reversed. The current situation is ‘‘business as usual’’ until a problem can be found (e.g. declining abundance). However, given the global declines of most shark species, extractive activities should not proceed until it is proven that exploited populations and/or associated ecosystem components are not harmed, or are minimally harmed relative to the social and economic benefits derived from them. 
Sharks are worthy of stricter management because (1) mounting evidence suggests that some sharks are keystone species that regulate community structure and contribute to ecosystem resilience, and (2) their intrinsic characteristics (e.g. K selection) predispose them to over-exploitation. 
A key challenge for the future is to convince the public and policy makers that the need for shark conservation is both beneficial and urgent.

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