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Fishery by-catch and discards: a positive perspective from ecosystem-based fishery management

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  • Ghoti papers
    Ghoti aims to serve as a forum for stimulating and pertinent ideas. Ghoti publishes succinct commentary and opinion that addresses important areas in fish and fisheries science. Ghoti contributions will be innovative and have a perspective that may lead to fresh and productive insight of concepts, issues and research agendas. All Ghoti contributions will be selected by the editors and peer reviewed.
    Etymology of Ghoti
    George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), polymath, playwright, Nobel prize winner, and the most prolific letter writer in history, was an advocate of English spelling reform. He was reportedly fond of pointing out its absurdities by proving that ‘fish' could be spelt ‘ghoti'. That is: ‘gh' as in ‘rough’, ‘o’ as in ‘women’ and ‘ti’ as in palatial.

Shijie Zhou, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 120, Cleveland, Qld 4163, Australia
Tel.: +61 7 3826 7263
Fax: +61 7 3826 7222
E-mail: shijie.zhou@csiro.au

Abstract

By-catch and (or) discards in fisheries have been considered a serious problem and have been unanimously criticized by politicians, environmental groups, the public and scientists. However, it is possible to determine biologically acceptable amounts of discards that fulfil the objectives of ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM). For instance, while discards have been shown to impact some systems negatively, they can be a potential benefit in other systems. Using a prawn trawl fishery as an example, this paper discusses some of the potentially positive effects of discards. As in many facets of EBFM, the key for the management of discards is sustainability and precaution. In particular, it is important to give full consideration to the implications of reducing discards to the lowest extent possible.

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