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Free Content Are Atlantic marlins overfished or endangered? Some reasons why we may not be able to tell

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Increasingly marine fish are being listed as endangered or threatened. Atlantic marlin stocks have been assessed to be overfished and suffer overfishing, yet the precise level of depletion and severity of overfishing is unknown. Much of this uncertainty stems from the underreporting of catch, the difficulty in interpreting abundance indices based on fishery data, and a lack of understanding of the spatial processes that determine the interactions between marlin populations and fishing gear. Annual indices of abundance are poorly correlated, failing to show an unequivocal trend, but seasonal indices are strongly correlated at many of the locations investigated. This questions our ability to assess past changes in population size, estimate current biomass, and detect future changes in abundance. In response to concerns on stock status, international management has agreed on substantial reductions in harvest to recover stocks. The impacts of such actions is unlikely to be felt or be detectable for years, thus management must proceed in a precautionary manner.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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