Editor Patrick Christie
Commercializing bycatch can push a fishery beyond economic extinction
Article first published online: 9 APR 2010
©2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 277–285, August 2010
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How to Cite
Lobo, A. S., Balmford, A., Arthur, R. and Manica, A. (2010), Commercializing bycatch can push a fishery beyond economic extinction. Conservation Letters, 3: 277–285. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00117.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 9 APR 2010
- Received 2 October 2009Accepted24 March 2010
- trash fish
Tropical bottom trawling is among the most destructive fishing practices, catching large quantities of bycatch, which are usually discarded. We used questionnaire surveys of trawl fishers to look at changes in catches over the last 30 years (1978–2008) along India's Coromandel Coast. We show that catches and income from target species have declined sharply over the last two decades. Meanwhile, costs of fishing have increased substantially and now almost exceed income from target species. Over the same period, bycatch (which was traditionally discarded) has now become increasingly marketable, being sold for local consumption, and as fish meal to supply the region's rapidly growing poultry industry. Without this income from bycatch, the fishery would scarcely be economically viable. While such a change in the use of bycatch is good news in terms of reducing waste and improving livelihoods, it is also responsible for pushing the Indian bottom trawl fishery beyond the economic extinction of its target species.