“Balanced exploitation” – An alternative to selective fishing?

Selective fishing is widely encourages as part of ecosystem-based fisheries management. It aims to regulate the exploitation of target species whilst protecting non-target (bycatch) species. However, recent suggested that a selective approach may also result in “undesirable impacts both to fisheries and marine ecosystems”.

Writing in PNAS, Shijie Zhou and colleagues argue that selective fishing alters ecosystem functions, and may in turn affect fishery production. Instead, they propose that a “balanced exploitation”, which avoids the intensive removal of particular components of the ecosystem, and recognises that most species would be able to accommodate some level of exploitation. Society, the authors argue, may even benefit because “a greater proportion of the entire suite of harvested species is used.”

Article: Ecosystem-based fisheries management requires a change to the selective fishing philosophy