Biodiversity Loss in the Ocean: How Bad Is It?

Murawski, S, Methot, R, Tromble, G, Hilborn, RW, Briggs, JC, Worm, B, Barbier, EB, Beaumont, NJ, Duffy, JE, Folke, C, Halpern, BS, Jackson, JBC, Lotze, HK, Micheli, F, Palumbi, SR, Sala, E, Selkoe, KA, Stachowicz, JJ and Watson, R 2007 Biodiversity Loss in the Ocean: How Bad Is It?. Science, 316 (5829). 1281b-1284b.

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MURAWSKI AND COLLEAGUES STATE THAT OUR assessment of the impacts of global marine biodiversity loss is overly pessimistic. They imply that management interventions are likely to reverse current trends of overfishing, and that the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has already met that goal. They cite Georges Bank haddock as an example and contest that catch metrics (as used in our global analysis) are sufficient to track the status of this particular fish stock and possibly others. We agree that precise biomass data are preferable, but these are rarely available. Here, we illustrate that catches are a good proxy of the status of haddock, although there can be a short delay in detecting recovery under intense management. While NMFS’s own data show that full recovery is still uncommon (<5% of overfished stocks) (1), we strongly agree that destructive trends can be turned around and that rebuilding efforts need to be intensified to meet that goal. But we must not miss the forest for the trees: Continuing focus on single, well-assessed, economically viable species will leave most of the ocean’s declining biodiversity under the radar.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Sea and Society
Depositing User: Nicola Beaumont
Date made live: 09 Jun 2014 14:48
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:12

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