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Wasting the Oceans: Searching for Principles to Control Bycatch in International Law

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

The bycatch of species when fishing is now an international problem, which can drive species to the brink of extinction. This article examines some of the ways in which the various management regimes can confront this problem. These include defining the target species more accurately and modifying harvesting technology where necessary. If incidental species are still captured, other strategies include the release of bycaught species alive (when practical), the strict enforcement of direct quotas on bycatch take, coupled with incentives or disincentives to confront bycatch. The idea that bycatch may not be landed and profited from has an obvious attraction when dealing with species already the subject of separate conservation measures. However, to discard them completely is wasteful. Where bycatch species are not the subject of conservation regimes, their utilisation should be considered, although it is important that this does not result in perverse incentives.

Affiliations: 1: University of Waikato, New Zealand


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