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Spreading the load on fisheries through balanced harvesting July 08,2019   |  Source: Phys.org

A more balanced approach to harvesting fish could slow down fisheries-induced evolution and result in other conservation benefits, according to collaborative research from University of Canterbury's School of Mathematics and Statistics.

A sixth-floor office at UC's Erskine building may seem a world away from the rolling deck of a working trawler, yet research that Professor Michael Plank is undertaking there has potentially far-reaching implications for how fish stocks could be managed in the future.

The mathematical biologist has been studying what would happen if fisheries were managed using a balanced harvesting approach. Mathematical models he has tested suggest that this alternative, balanced approach would better serve biodiversity than current approaches. Balanced harvesting requires a broad understanding of how species interact and how a whole ecosystem functions. Its goal is to try to keep a natural balance in that system rather than, for example, fishing for set volumes of target species of a particular size.

"The idea of balanced harvesting is to spread the load as widely as possible across the ecosystem … I first began looking into this in 2012 after hearing a talk on the subject by Professor Richard Law, of the University of York, who was here on a visit


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Theme(s): Fisheries Resources.

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