(ORDO NEWS) — A new study has found that carefully placed no-fishing zones can help restore iconic fish species. Here are a few things every angler should know.
No-fishing areas are well known to benefit sedentary marine life such as corals and lobsters.
However, until now it has been assumed that the size of the protected water area cannot affect the protection of fish like tuna that travel long distances.
Yet a new study from the University of Hawaii at Manoa has provided data that proves the benefits to humans and fish from the ban on fishing.
Restricted areas for fishing
Using information gathered by scientific observers aboard fishing boats, scientists have shown that the world‘s largest no-fishing zone, the Papahanaumokuākea Marine National Monument, increased the catch rate of yellowfin tuna in nearby waters by 54%. Bigeye tuna catch rates increased by 12%; The catch of all fish species combined increased by 8%.
The size of the no-fishing zone nearly four times the size of California’s entire land mass and the apparent behavior of some tuna species in the region likely played a role in the observed positive effects.
In addition to their economic importance, yellowfin tuna and bigeye tuna have long been central to the culture and diet of Hawaii.
“We show for the first time that a no-fishing area can lead to the recovery and spread of migratory species such as bigeye tuna,” said co-author John Lynham, professor in the Department of Economics at the College of Social Sciences.
Another author, Sarah Medoff, a researcher at the School of Oceans, Geosciences and Technology, added, “Born and raised in Hawaii, I know how important ahi [the local name for tuna] is to the community. It’s not just what they eat in trendy sushi restaurants.”
Another author of the article, Jennifer Raynor, professor of forest and wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says, “Over the past 30 years, we have learned that tuna do not stray as far from home as was once thought.
The Hawaiian Islands are a breeding ground for baby yellowfin tuna and it appears that many of these fish remain in the region.”
Papahanaumokuākea was established in 2006 and expanded in 2016 to protect biological and cultural resources.
The area is considered sacred to Native Hawaiians and is jointly administered by the residents, the state of Hawaii, and the federal government.
According to Kekuev Kikiloi, an associate professor at the Center for Hawaiian Studies who, however, was not involved in the study, “This work confirms the value of large-scale marine protected areas in the Pacific Ocean.
Fought for by Native Hawaiians and other stakeholders as Papahanaumokuakea serves the benefit of all, including the interests of the fisheries.”
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