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Scripps Researcher Says Rules to Help Fish Hurt Fish

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Aired 4/19/09

New research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows fishing regulations intended to help fish are actually contributing to declining and unstable fish populations.  KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The study says size limit regulations requiring the release of smaller fish do more harm than good for many species.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor George Sugihara says fishing is disrupting the populations and age structure because rules require smaller fish to be tossed back into the ocean.
Sugihara: Fishing should lay off the large individuals. Normal fishing regulations protect smaller individuals and it's the larger ones that actually add stability to the population.
He says the larger fish are healthier and they provide more and better quality offspring than the smaller fish.

Sugihara says current policies don't help rebuild dwindling fish stocks.
He says requiring the release of older and larger fish is a better management practice.

Sugihara says a broad base of faster-growing small fish only increases the boom and bust cycle in fisheries.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.
 

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