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Predation Matters

Today, Pew unleashed a mini-media blitz on the importance of predation in fisheries management.  This got my attention because the interaction between marine predators and fisheries is one of my major research interests.  They do a great (and slickly-designed) job explaining the basics of why paying attention to predation matters in fisheries management, and bonus points for using the most noble of sharks as one of their examples.  Check out the video here:

 

I particularly like that they go into enough detail to lay out options for incorporating predation into fisheries.  Personally, I’m a big fan of the “second fleet” option, in which predators are counted as another source of fishing mortality (and some of my favorite papers are cited in support of it).  It does require the most effort, but provides the most accurate estimations of predation mortality (and justifies funding for diet studies?  Please?).  Multi-species models are ideal, and really the only way to conclusively prove that trophic cascades are actually happening.  Precautionary buffers, in my opinion, should really follow thorough diet studies, but are certainly another important aspect of ecosystem-based management.

It’s neat to finally see this subject getting some attention.  Here’s hoping the word continues to get out about the importance of shark puke.