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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Mismanagement of fisheries: Policy or science?

Cardinale, Massimiliano; Svedäng, Henrik


Several gadoids stocks in the Northeast Atlantic are currently considered as severely overexploited. A fast spreading paradigm is that conventional single-species fisheries management has failed and new approaches are needed. A crucial element of this "novel way of thinking" is the cheered move from conventional single-species management to 'ecosystem-based management' in order to assure sustainability in the long term. Here we showed that although conducted within a deterministic single stock modelling framework, and without invoking the ecosystem approach, scientific advice if applied, mirrors in stocks being in relative healthy state. We argue that managers and politicians have had the necessary scientific instruments for managing stocks and avoid stock collapses, but they failed as they tried to minimize the impact of policy on those who are most affected (i.e. the fishing industry) in a short-term perspective. Thus, our results strengthen the hypothesis that it is the practise of ignoring the scientific advice more than the advice itself that is to be blamed for the waste of former large marine resources. What we urgently need for securing marine ecosystems is not more data but immediate actions. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


sustainability; single stock assessment; scientific advice; politics

Published in

Fisheries Research
2008, Volume: 93, number: 1-2, pages: 244-247

    SLU Authors

      • Svedäng, Henrik

        • Swedish Board of Fisheries

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