Fisheries, the inverted food pyramid (2016)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. Mathematics and Statistics
A global assessment of fishing patterns and fishing pressure from 110 different Ecopath models, representing marine ecosystems throughout the world and covering the period 1970 to 2007, show that human exploitation across trophic levels is highly unbalanced and skewed towards low productive species at high trophic levels, which are around two trophic levels higher than the animal protein we get from farming. Overall exploitation levels from low trophic species were less than 15% of production, and only 18% of the total number of exploited groups and species were harvested above 40% of their production. Generally well managed fisheries from temperate ecosystems were more selectively harvested at higher exploitation rates than tropical and upwelling (tropical and temperate) fisheries, resulting in potentially larger long-term changes to the ecosystem structure and functioning. The results indicate a very inefficient utilisation of the food energy value of marine production. Rebuilding overfished components of the ecosystem and changing focus to balancing exploitation across a wider range of trophic levels, ie balanced harvesting, has the potential to significantly increase overall catches from global marine fisheries.
CitationKolding, J., Bundy, A., van Zwieten, P.A.M., Plank, M.J. (2016) Fisheries, the inverted food pyramid. ICES Journal of Marine Science, (early access online).
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KeywordsEcosystem approach to fisheries; Balanced harvesting; Exploitation rate; Food security; Ecopath
ANZSRC Fields of Research30 - Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences::3005 - Fisheries sciences::300505 - Fisheries management
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Law R; Plank MJ (Wiley, 2018)© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Current fisheries management pays little attention to fisheries-induced evolution. Methods of exploitation that have benefits in the short term while ameliorating selection in the longer term ...
Hackney M; James A; Plank MJ (Elsevier BV, 2019)Fisheries management strategies in which large fish are selectively targeted and younger, smaller fish are protected can lead to disruption of stocks, truncation of the population size spectrum, and impaired recruitment. ...
Zhou S; Kolding J; Garcia SM; Plank MJ; Bundy A; Charles A; Hansen C; Heino M; Howell D; Jacobsen NS; Reid DG; Rice JC; van Zwieten PAM (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019)© 2019, The Author(s). Balanced harvest has been proposed to reduce fishing impact on ecosystems while simultaneously maintaining or even increasing fishery yield. The concept has attracted broad interest, but also received ...