Friday, December 22, 2006

Octopus Study Shows Way to Save Fish Stocks

Octopus Study Shows Way to Save Fish Stocks
KENYA: December 19, 2006

NAIROBI - Protecting marine areas for even relatively brief periods can
significantly restore depleted fish stocks, scientists said on Monday,
citing a study of octopus catches in Madagascar.

The researchers found that after an area off the coast of the Indian Ocean
island nation was closed to fishermen for seven months, the number of
octopus caught later rose 13 times while the total weight of the octopus
catch jumped 25 times.
"The increase ... was far greater than we ever expected," said Alasdair
Harris, scientific director of Blue Ventures, the marine conservation group
that conducted the fieldwork.

"This study shows MPAs (marine protected areas) not only serve as a powerful
conservation tool helping species thrive, but can also be a powerful
economic tool helping fisheries remain productive and profitable," he said
in a statement.

Experts say nearly 75 percent of fish stocks, from tuna to cod, are caught
faster than they can breed as more and more people depend on them for food
and livelihoods.

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