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Biodiversity offsets: a cost-effective interim solution to seabird bycatch in fisheries?

Pascoe S, Wilcox C, Donlan CJ - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: In this paper, we re-examine the potential role of compensatory mitigation as a fisheries management tool, although from the perspective of being an interim management measure while more long-lasting solutions to the problem are found.We find that, in the example being examined, invasive rodent eradication is at least 10 times more cost effective than area closures.We conclude that, while this does not solve the actual bycatch problem, it may provide breathing space for both the seabird species and the industry to find longer term means of reducing bycatch.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. sean.pascoe@csiro.au

ABSTRACT
The concept of biodiversity offsets is well established as an approach to environmental management. The concept has been suggested for environmental management in fisheries, particularly in relation to the substantial numbers of non-target species--seabirds in particular--caught and killed as incidental bycatch during fishing activities. Substantial areas of fisheries are being closed to protect these species at great cost to the fishing industry. However, other actions may be taken to offset the impact of fishing on these populations at lower cost to the fishing industry. This idea, however, has attracted severe criticism largely as it does not address the underlying externality problems created by the fishing sector, namely seabird fishing mortality. In this paper, we re-examine the potential role of compensatory mitigation as a fisheries management tool, although from the perspective of being an interim management measure while more long-lasting solutions to the problem are found. We re-model an example previously examined by both proponents and opponents of the approach, namely the cost effectiveness of rodent control relative to fishery area closures for the conservation of a seabird population adversely affected by an Australian tuna fishery. We find that, in the example being examined, invasive rodent eradication is at least 10 times more cost effective than area closures. We conclude that, while this does not solve the actual bycatch problem, it may provide breathing space for both the seabird species and the industry to find longer term means of reducing bycatch.

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Distribution of total fishing days in the ETBF, 2003–08, and observed foraging range of shearwaters.The color represents the intensity of fishing in terms of number of days fished. Lord Howe Island lies at the centre of the range.
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pone-0025762-g001: Distribution of total fishing days in the ETBF, 2003–08, and observed foraging range of shearwaters.The color represents the intensity of fishing in terms of number of days fished. Lord Howe Island lies at the centre of the range.

Mentions: As with many longline fisheries, the incidental bycatch of seabirds is a problem. Flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) suffer the greatest mortality, estimated at 1800–4500 birds per annum [29], although there is considerable discrepancy between “official” estimates of seabird bycatch from the fishery [30] and estimates derived from other studies (e.g. [29], [31], [32]). The east coast population breed exclusively on Lord Howe Island (off the New South Wales north coast) [33], with foraging seabirds covering distances of up to 800 km from the Island [34]. Studies of foraging behavior found that over half the foraging sites overlapped with tuna vessels, with most of this overlap occurring in areas of highest fishing activity between the Island and the mainland coast [34] (Figure 1). Although the total fleet size has been substantially reduced since 2005, much of the reduction has taken place in the northern and southern extremities of the fishery, so the impact of the restructuring on shearwater bycatch has been less substantial. The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during longline fishing is still listed on ‘Schedule 3 Key Threatening Processes’ of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/ktp/longlinefishing.html).


Biodiversity offsets: a cost-effective interim solution to seabird bycatch in fisheries?

Pascoe S, Wilcox C, Donlan CJ - PLoS ONE (2011)

Distribution of total fishing days in the ETBF, 2003–08, and observed foraging range of shearwaters.The color represents the intensity of fishing in terms of number of days fished. Lord Howe Island lies at the centre of the range.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198446&req=5

pone-0025762-g001: Distribution of total fishing days in the ETBF, 2003–08, and observed foraging range of shearwaters.The color represents the intensity of fishing in terms of number of days fished. Lord Howe Island lies at the centre of the range.
Mentions: As with many longline fisheries, the incidental bycatch of seabirds is a problem. Flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) suffer the greatest mortality, estimated at 1800–4500 birds per annum [29], although there is considerable discrepancy between “official” estimates of seabird bycatch from the fishery [30] and estimates derived from other studies (e.g. [29], [31], [32]). The east coast population breed exclusively on Lord Howe Island (off the New South Wales north coast) [33], with foraging seabirds covering distances of up to 800 km from the Island [34]. Studies of foraging behavior found that over half the foraging sites overlapped with tuna vessels, with most of this overlap occurring in areas of highest fishing activity between the Island and the mainland coast [34] (Figure 1). Although the total fleet size has been substantially reduced since 2005, much of the reduction has taken place in the northern and southern extremities of the fishery, so the impact of the restructuring on shearwater bycatch has been less substantial. The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during longline fishing is still listed on ‘Schedule 3 Key Threatening Processes’ of the Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/ktp/longlinefishing.html).

Bottom Line: In this paper, we re-examine the potential role of compensatory mitigation as a fisheries management tool, although from the perspective of being an interim management measure while more long-lasting solutions to the problem are found.We find that, in the example being examined, invasive rodent eradication is at least 10 times more cost effective than area closures.We conclude that, while this does not solve the actual bycatch problem, it may provide breathing space for both the seabird species and the industry to find longer term means of reducing bycatch.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. sean.pascoe@csiro.au

ABSTRACT
The concept of biodiversity offsets is well established as an approach to environmental management. The concept has been suggested for environmental management in fisheries, particularly in relation to the substantial numbers of non-target species--seabirds in particular--caught and killed as incidental bycatch during fishing activities. Substantial areas of fisheries are being closed to protect these species at great cost to the fishing industry. However, other actions may be taken to offset the impact of fishing on these populations at lower cost to the fishing industry. This idea, however, has attracted severe criticism largely as it does not address the underlying externality problems created by the fishing sector, namely seabird fishing mortality. In this paper, we re-examine the potential role of compensatory mitigation as a fisheries management tool, although from the perspective of being an interim management measure while more long-lasting solutions to the problem are found. We re-model an example previously examined by both proponents and opponents of the approach, namely the cost effectiveness of rodent control relative to fishery area closures for the conservation of a seabird population adversely affected by an Australian tuna fishery. We find that, in the example being examined, invasive rodent eradication is at least 10 times more cost effective than area closures. We conclude that, while this does not solve the actual bycatch problem, it may provide breathing space for both the seabird species and the industry to find longer term means of reducing bycatch.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus