Study could impact fish populations

Dr. John Lynham
Dr. John Lynham
Paul Dalzell
Paul Dalzell

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A new study co-authored by a University of Hawaii professor shows some promising results for depleted fisheries in the islands and around the world.

Catch Shares guarantee each commercial fishermen a fixed portion of catch. The new study backs this strategy, which could have a big impact on our fish populations.

An earlier study predicted that by 2048, all wild fisheries will collapse. Scientists and fishermen hope that doesn't hold true. that's why this new study is catching the eyes and ears of many in the industry.

"There's a big debate about whether catch shares are a good idea and we're just trying to do is inform the debate by putting some numbers on the table that show that fisheries that have switched are not heading towards collapse," The study's co-author Dr. John Lynham said.

It's no doubt fishermen may benefit from this economically, but there is another thing it may help.

"I've always believed that there are economic benefits to giving fishermen ownership in some way of the fish that they are catching and I was personally impressed by just how strong the ecological benefits we found were," Lynham said.

Catch shares are common in places like New Zealand, Australia and the east coast of the United States. Officials say it could work in Hawaii as well.

"I think the trick is to look at these and see what works and what hasn't, they're not easy things to administer, takes a lot of monitoring, there are high monitoring costs and management costs," Fisheries scientist Paul Dalzell said.

Local fishermen tell us they've seen first-hand the depletion of fisheries in the islands. That's why they hope Catch Shares becomes a reality.

Fisheries managers here plan to use this study to possibly implement Catch Shares in Hawaii.