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Hoshino E.,Imperial College London | Hillary R.M.,CSIRO | Pearce J.,MRAG Ltd
Marine Resource Economics | Year: 2010

The fishery for Patagonian toothfish around the island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean is a profitable operation targeting a high-value, slow-growing species. We substituted the complex Bayesian age-structured model currently used for assessments with a Schaefer production model, which performs equally well as an operating model for management strategy evaluation. Our analysis demonstrated that optimum long-term profitability using a discount rate of 2% would be achieved at a biomass of 59% of initial biomass, which is higher than the target biomass of 50% incorporated into the current management strategy, and at a reduction in effort of approximately 19%. A number of potential effort reduction strategies are investigated, several of which would achieve belter conservation objectives and higher future profits from the fishery than those predicted using the current management strategy. Copyright © 2010 MRE Foundation, Inc.

Arthur R.I.,MRAG Ltd | Friend R.M.,Independent Consultant
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2011

The inland capture fisheries of the Mekong represent critical sources of nutrition in rural diets in a region that faces endemic food and nutritional deficits. However within regional development debates that prioritize utilising the waters of the Mekong to generate electricity, capture fisheries are often presented as ultimately doomed, and therefore as an unfortunate, but necessary trade-off for hydropower. At the heart of these debates, lie contested definitions of development. The notion that fisheries could or should be traded-off for some other form of development exemplifies this tension. This paper draws on anthropological approaches to policy analysis based on discourse and narratives. We begin by placing the conventional wisdom regarding the place of fisheries in regional development under closer scrutiny. We then explore the potential for a counter narrative based around food and food sovereignty, in which fisheries and fishers are drivers, rather than costs of development. We argue that fisheries provide a range of livelihood and developmental values that cannot be replaced and that their management continues to hold potential for strengthening independence and self-reliance. In doing so, we build on empirical evidence from the Lao PDR, a country with a rich capture fishery but also endemic food crises, and also a national policy commitment to both poverty reduction and extensive large-scale hydropower development. As such, this paper attempts to reframe the debate on development in the Mekong. The paper has wider significance for considering how a broader focus on food and food producers can generate alternative development pathways. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Taylor M.L.,University of Oxford | Yesson C.,UK Institute of Zoology | Agnew D.J.,Imperial College London | Mitchell R.E.,MRAG Ltd | Rogers A.D.,University of Oxford
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2013

Aim: For many deep-sea fisheries, there is an urgent management requirement for information on the presence of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). Gathering deep-sea data using conventional techniques can be expensive and time-consuming. One way to provide a relatively rapid assessment of VME presence is to use data from fisheries by-catch and historical scientific observations. Our aim was to predict suitable habitat for octocorals around South Georgia and to estimate the extent to which octocoral habitat is currently protected by fisheries management measures. In addition, we attempted to determine the types of terrain in which octocorals and fishing activities occur. Location: South Georgia, sub-Antarctic. Methods: A terrain map of South Georgia was created using Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM). Georeferenced octocoral data were combined with environmental layers to create an octocoral habitat suitability map using ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA). Results: Most octocoral by-catch samples originated from narrow crest (an area representing shelf break and moraines) and steep (continental) slope terrains. Calcite saturation state and apparent oxygen utilization (AOU) were the most influential environmental parameters in determining highly suitable octocoral habitat. The ENFA model highlighted shelf-break areas to be highly suitable habitat for octocorals and that 38% of this habitat around South Georgia lies within areas currently protected by fisheries management; a further 20% is below the 2000-m fishing depth, meaning effectively that 58% of predicted highly suitable octocoral habitat is currently protected. Although these results indicate protection levels for octocoral habitat well above international standards/targets, the fishery remains active within a relatively concentrated shelf area at 700-2000 m, potentially having a large impact on the 42% of highly suitable octocoral habitat predicted to lie at these depths. Main conclusions: This research demonstrates the potential for using fisheries by-catch data to create habitat suitability maps that can inform fisheries management and future research. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Davies T.K.,Imperial College London | Mees C.C.,MRAG Ltd | Milner-Gulland E.J.,Imperial College London
Marine Policy | Year: 2015

An important task of natural resource management is deciding amongst alternative policy options, including how interventions will affect the dynamics of resource exploitation. Yet predicting the behaviour of natural resource users in complex, changeable systems presents a significant challenge for managers. Scenario planning, which involves thinking creatively about how a socio-ecological system might develop under a set of possible futures, was used to explore uncertainties in the future of the Indian Ocean tuna purse seine fishery. This exercise stimulated thinking on how key social, economic and environmental conditions that influence fleet behaviour may change in the future, and how these changes might affect the dynamics of fishing effort. Three storylines were explored: an increase in marine protection, growing consumer preference for sustainable seafood, and depletion of tuna stocks. Comparing across several possible future scenarios, a number of critical aspects of fleet behaviour were identified that should be important considerations for fishery managers, but which are currently poorly understood. These included a switch in fishing practices, reallocation of effort in space, investment in new vessels and exit from the fishery. Recommendations for future management interventions in the Indian Ocean were offered, along with suggestions for research needed to reduce management uncertainty. © 2015 The Authors.

Roberts J.,Imperial College London | Xavier J.C.,University of Coimbra | Xavier J.C.,Natural Environment Research Council | Agnew D.J.,Imperial College London | Agnew D.J.,MRAG Ltd
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2011

The diets of Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni and Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides were examined around the South Sandwich Islands in the Southern Ocean, one of few regions with overlapping populations of the two species. Despite large differences in the proportion of stomachs containing prey (76·2% of D. mawsoni compared to 7·2% of D. eleginoides), diet composition was broadly similar (Schoener overlap index of 74·4% based on prey mass) with finfishes (particularly macrourids and muraenolepidids) and cephalopods (mainly Kondakovia longimana) comprising >90% of the prey mass of both species. Predation rates of the main fish prey, as mean counts per stomach sampled, were spatially correlated with their relative abundance around the islands derived from fishery by-catch data, suggesting a general lack of prey selectivity. This study supports the view that bathyal Dissostichus are opportunistic carnivores and finds that D. mawsoni and D. eleginoides occupy a similar trophic niche and are likely to compete for prey in regions where both are distributed. The large increase in rate of prey occurrence and size of prey in D. mawsoni stomachs relative to D. eleginoides suggests, however, species differences in feeding behaviour, which may reflect the increased metabolic demands of a cold-water adapted physiology. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2011 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

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