Are Industrialized Fisheries Sustainable?
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Fish stock assessment and management is currently based on the concept of sustainable surplus production. This essay argues that this concept is fallacious and that the assessment/management models which assume its existence are overly simplistic. The analysis explores some of the other issues which should be considered in any stock management regime: these include the dynamic responses of marine ecosystems to physical forcing, the real significance of the extraordinary fecundity of teleosts, the indeterminate growth pattern of fish and its consequences for the reproductive efficiency of older individuals, so that truncation of the older year classes, an apparently inevitable consequence of fishing, will hasten stock collapses. The long-term future of modern fisheries is not bright.