Recently, the New York Times Green Blog described how two major Southern California fisheries (kelp and barred sand bass) had collapsed “right under the noses of management agencies.”
The management and oversight of these fish stocks had not changed since 1959. This news is perhaps not surprising as there are more examples of marine species collapses off our coastline than possible to list in this blog post.
Though the media tends to focus on the effects of pollution, climate change, or overfishing, outdated systems of management are actually the main cause of the collapse in many cases.
The ups and downs of abalone stocks off of the coast of Southern California provide an example of how poor fishery management resulted in the collapse of a population. Only a few years after the Palos Verdes Peninsula abalone stocks re-opened for commercial fishing in 1943, the stocks began to decline again, as more than 9.3 million pink abalone were collected during the peak decade of the fishery (Taniguchi 2013).
These waters are home to one of the largest kelp forests in the Pacific, and this giant kelp (Macrocystis Pyrifera) is the main food source for abalone, sea urchins, and many other fish and marine mammals. Because of a spike in population growth after World War II, a greater amount of sewage was discharged into the water, leading to the deterioration of kelp forests. This pollution, combined with a warmer water temperature because of the 1957 El Niño event, rendered the kelp forests practically extinct, which meant to loss of abalones’ main food source.
Therefore, because of a lack of food, the abalone either did not reproduce or had badly weakened shells and stunted growth. Even after the kelp gradually grew back and abalone populations increased because of stricter regulations, poaching became a huge problem. Because abalones are found in predictable, accessible locations, and because they have a high unit value, the value of individual animals outweighed any risks or penalties for poaching. Enforcement of the laws was minimal because of California’s small environmental budget—there were only five wardens responsible for monitoring “hunting, fishing, exotic animals, [and] pollution events” for the entire inland Los Angeles County (Tegner 1993).
Since 1977, this fishery has been closed to sport and commercial take of abalones along parts of the California coastline. Yet this closure has not led to abalone population recovery because the off-limit areas were not located in areas with existing abalone stocks, so recolonization was not possible. Neither was poaching was not heavily monitored (Tegner 1993). Recent research has also found that opening up abalone reserves to fishing can result in immediate and drastic declines in abalone density, size, and reproductive capacity (Rogers-Bennett 2013). Perhaps only with time and new management strategies will abalone populations have a chance to recover.
The history of the California sardine fishery is another example of failed regulations and drastic overfishing.
The Latest Bing News on:
Collapse of Southern California Fisheries
- An 800-mile firebreak once traversed California. What happened?on November 13, 2020 at 4:09 am
Nearly lost to history and nature, the Ponderosa Way, which spanned from Mount Shasta to Bakersfield, was one of the largest projects of the Depression era. It still holds lessons for a fire-stricken ...
- Southern California seafood chain opens first Arizona restaurant in Scottsdaleon November 10, 2020 at 11:35 am
After nearly two years in development, Southern California-based Lure Fish House finally opened its first Scottsdale location and according to a broker is looking to open more in the Valley. #phoenix ...
- Home of the Week: Wayne Gretzky’s Sprawling Southern California Mansion Hits the Market for $23 Millionon November 10, 2020 at 8:44 am
The hockey legend they call “The Great One” is finally letting go of the sprawling Colonial-style mansion in Thousand Oaks, north of Los Angeles, that he built in 2002, sold in 2007 and bought back in ...
- Record Number of Great Whites Tagged in Southern Californiaon November 10, 2020 at 4:06 am
Researchers in Southern California are seeing more great white sharks than ever before, reports local broadcast network KCAL-TV. Chris Lowe, a shark expert at California State University Long Beach, ...
- Wildlife agency delays Dungeness crab fishing season to limit whales, sea turtles being trapped in fishing gearon November 6, 2020 at 6:32 pm
A new California Department of Fish and Wildlife rule adding restrictions to commercial Dungeness crab fishing could reduce the number of whales and sea turtles found entangled in fishing gear off the ...
- Protecting 5% More Of The Ocean Can Increase Fisheries Yield By 20% According To New Researchon October 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm
A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that protecting an additional 5% of the ocean can increase future fish catch by 20% or more. Growing up in a ...
- Study finds lobster population healthy off Maine, poor in southern New Englandon October 26, 2020 at 10:31 am
The stock assessment released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission ... but the catch collapsed off more southern states such as Connecticut. Environmental changes have made the ...
- Sparring Over a ‘Tiny Little Fish,’ a Legendary Biologist Calls President Trump ‘an Ignorant Bully’on October 16, 2020 at 12:14 pm
On a Sunday afternoon as bright as new Sterling silver, with the pandemic lockdowns loosened, Putah Creek, at the southern edge of the University of California ... looking for "fish life" at ...
- Rare Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake Washes Ashore In Southern Californiaon September 10, 2020 at 8:35 pm
It's the first reported sighting of the species in Southern California since 1983 ... and these sea snakes like to eat fish. SHAPIRO: So if you see one, just stick with Greg Pauly's advice.
- SAVING THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA STEELHEAD TROUTon August 17, 2020 at 8:13 am
Tens of thousands of these prized sport fish used to return to Southern California streams every year, but now they're stopped by dams and water diversions, urban development, and livestock grazing.
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Collapse of Southern California Fisheries
The Latest Bing News on:
- Red herrings: fish category report 2020on November 13, 2020 at 1:45 am
Brexit was sold as a golden opportunity for UK fishing. With still no deal in sight, has the industry been caught hook, line & sinker?
- Illegal Chinese Fishing May Collapse Nigeria's Coastal Ecosystem—Reporton November 11, 2020 at 11:30 pm
"After they have finished fishing, we hardly see fishes catch," Mr Monwon told the investigators, pointing to a fishing vessel at a far distance.
- Ed Killer: Open-ocean fish farms may need to wait for better aquaculture technologyon November 11, 2020 at 11:52 am
The first-ever open-ocean aquaculture project off the continental U.S. is poised to begin off Florida. It could reduce overfishing, but at what cost?
- These are most environmentally-friendly fish you can buyon November 9, 2020 at 6:15 pm
Seafood and sustainability go fin in fin. With 90% of the world's fisheries already over-exploited, exploited or collapsed, overfishing is a major concern. Those who make their livelihoods from ...
- EU fisheries outrage: Brussels accused of 'abuse of power' in bitter fishing spaton November 7, 2020 at 1:30 am
THE EUROPEAN UNION was accused of an "abuse of power" in a bitter row over fisheries, reminiscent of hostilities between the bloc and the UK during Brexit talks.
- First Nations alliance forming against DFO herring fishery planson November 6, 2020 at 12:22 pm
First Nations and academics are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to halt all plans for commercial herring fisheries on the south coast to allow the species to recover to historical abundance.
- Fishermen say COVID-19 is not passed on by fishon November 6, 2020 at 8:54 am
Sales collapsed after a viral outbreak at a Colombo fish market. Activists urge the authorities to counter public disinformation. Fishing industry workers are unable to pay debts. Advocates want the g ...
- Brexit latest news – EU trade talks on brink of COLLAPSE as Michel Barnier warns ‘serious’ disagreements remain with UKon November 5, 2020 at 3:24 pm
BREXIT negotiations look to have almost stalled although efforts to reach an agreement will continue. Michel Barnier said “very serious divergencies remain” between the EU and UK ...
- Local fish markets reel from loss of bay scallopson November 2, 2020 at 12:35 pm
The bay-scallop season on Long Island's East End started Monday, but Braun Seafood Co., which serves 700 restaurants and a large retail base market, has yet to take in even a pound of the prized shell ...
- Survivalist bunker in Colorado activates 'collapse' mode ahead of Election Dayon November 2, 2020 at 8:02 am
Preppers’ in Colorado have activated their ‘collapse mode’ for Election Day - meaning civil unrest could be imminent, and fee-paying members can move in for free ...