An introduction to some of the problems of sustainable fisheries

There is general recognition that many of the world's marine and freshwater fisheries are overexploited, that the ecosystems containing them are degraded, and that many fish stocks are depleted and in need of rebuilding (for a review see the FAO report (Anonymous 2002)). There is also general agreement among scientists, the industry, the public and politicians that the search for sustainable fishing should receive high priority. To keep matters brief, and to avoid crossing the line between environmental science and environmentalism (Mangel 2001b), I do not go into the justification for studying fisheries here (but do provide some in Connections). In this chapter, we will investigate various single species models that provide intuition about the issues of sustainable fisheries. I believe that fishery management is on the verge of multi-species and ecosystem-based approaches (see Connections), but unless one really understands the single species approaches, these will be mysteries (or worse - one will do silly things).

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