Despite European Union rules controlling fishing catch sizes, fish stocks are collapsing. Change is needed to maintain populations at levels that can produce maximum sustainable yields, according to Rainer Froese at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany, and his colleagues. They have devised new rules that take a more cautious approach: limiting catches to levels that would leave species biomass at 1.3 times the total needed to produce maximum sustainable yields.

The current system, which regulates catch sizes according to the size of the smallest fish stock that could still deliver sustainable catches, encourages overfishing, the authors add. They say that their proposed rules would have prevented the collapse of the North Sea herring (Clupea harengus) in the 1970s.


Fish Fisheries doi:10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00387.x (2010)