NGO critics of California's new sardine rules miss that better science leads to conservative management
SEAFOODNEWS.COM By D. B. Pleschner [Opinion] Dec 8, 2014
Recently the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to change the sardine harvest control rule, increasing the upper limit of the sardine harvest fraction from 15 to 20 percent. The decision came after an exhaustive set of scientific workshops and analysis involving more than 60 people, held over the past two years to respond to a research paper that suggested that sea surface temperature (SST) measured at Scripps Pier in southern California, which had been employed as a proxy for sardine recruitment, was no longer correlated with recruitment success.
But apparently this fact was lost on environmental activists, who cried foul to the media, claiming that sardines are crashing, and the management response to the crisis is to just fish harder.
Claims that the Council voted for a more aggressive fishing rate miss the point: nothing could be further from the truth. But the truth is complicated.
We know that California’s sardine population is strongly influenced by ocean temperatures...
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