The findings appear in the January 9th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, and are reported by Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, along with colleagues there and at the University of Rhode Island, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of New Hampshire.
Though it has been protected for more than 70 years, the North Atlantic right whale has been slow to recover from past exploitation, and extinction remains a threat. The whale is virtually extinct in Europe, but a small population of about 350 individuals remains on the east coast of North America. A leading threat to the species is lethal entanglement by fishing gear: Photographic evidence indicates that 75% of individuals show signs of entanglement, mostly from lobster fishing gear.
In the new work, the researchers analyzed the costs and benefits of two dramatically different lobster fishing strategies currently employed in the Gulf of Maine, the world's most important lobster-producing area. Compared to lobster fishing on the Gulf's Canadian side (known as Lobster Fishing Area 34), which occurs over a winter fishing season, American-side lobster fishing is year-round, and involves 8–9 times more lobster traps in the water at any given time. Despite these significant differences in fishing "effort" and cost, Maine has only about 30% higher catches than the Canadian Fishing Area. Accordingly, the researchers estimate that the number of traps used in Maine is 13 times greater than in the Canadian Fishing Area to harvest the same lobster catch. On the basis of these findings and estimations of seasonal whale presence determined by patterns of whale sightings, the authors estimate that, in terms of impact on right whales, each lobster caught in Canada has less than 1% of the impact of each lobster caught in Maine.
The authors propose that if Maine restricted its lobster fishing season to 6 months and reduced the number of traps by a factor of ten, the more optimal fishing strategy--including decreased costs and improved total income--would allow greatly reduced risk to the remaining right whales while providing benefit to fishermen.
The authors point out that the basic problem of huge excess effort in lobster fishing is characteristic of other aspects of fishing industries around the world--including shrimp and tuna longline industries that expend much more effort than needed to obtain optimal yields, while threatening turtles and non-targeted fish, including shark species, as bycatch.
Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
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16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences