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Title: Protection of Marine Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction

Author: Musick, J.A.; Berkeley, S.A.; Cailliet, G.M.; Camhi, M.; Huntsman, G.; Nammack, M.; Warren, Melvin L. Jr.;

Date: 2000

Source: Fisheries Vol. 25, No. 3, March 2000, pg. 6-8

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: The American Fisheries Society (AFS) recommends that registory agencies closely scrutinize both marine fish and invertebrate stocks that may be at risk of extinction and take remedial action before populations are threatened or endungered. Initial AFS analyses of marine stocks at risk in North America show at least four primary geographic "hot spots" with stocks at risk-the Florida Keys; the Indian River Lagoon area of Florida; Puget Sound, Washington and adjacent Canadian waters; and the Gulf of California. Further AFS analyses show that certain groups of fishes are particularly vulnerable because they have slow growth and late maturity Severe population declines have been documented for several snappers and groupers (Lutjanidae, Serranidae) in the Atlantic and the Gulf of California, several rockfishes (Sebastinae) in the Pacific, and some sharks (Selachei), skates (Rajidae), and sawfishes (Pristidae). Regulatory agencies should be apprised that these groups are extraordinarily vulnerable, and priority management should be given to these species. The greatest threat to many long-lived marine species may be bycatch (including regulatory discard) in fisheries,targeting other, often more-productive species. Regulatory, agencies must monitor bycatch of long-lived species and move to implement conservation actions if population declines are recorded. The most effective management strategy for some species taken as bycatch and for targeted species such as deeper-water groupers and Pacific rockfishes, may be establishment of large, protected marine reserves to supplement traditional management practices outside of the protected areas. The AFS supports the development, use, and evaluation of large marine reserves or Marine Protected Areas to protect and rebuild vulnerable populations. These reserves must have clearly defined goals, include a wide variety of environmental conditions, be of sufficient number to protect marine ecosystems within each region, allow adaptive management, and be large enough to be self-sustaining. The AFS encourages its members to become involved by providing technical information needed for protection of at-risk marine stocks to international, federal, state, and provincial policy makers, so decisions are made on a scientific, rather than emotional or political, basis.

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Musick, J.A.; Berkeley, S.A.; Cailliet, G.M.; Camhi, M.; Huntsman, G.; Nammack, M.; Warren, Melvin L., Jr. 2000. Protection of Marine Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction. Fisheries Vol. 25, No. 3, March 2000, pg. 6-8


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