2 Fisheries Collapsed Unnoticed, Study Says

Sarah Perez

Tragedy of the Commons


This article discusses the recent collapse of two prominent fisheries in the Southern California area. According to the article, federal management agencies overlooked the deterioration of these fisheries because they failed to collect enough data. These two fisheries are the barred sand bass and kelp bass, whose populations began to decline in the 1980s. The slow decline of the bass species went unnoticed because fishermen would continue to fish in the same plentiful areas each year. Researchers believe this was the case because the fish prefer certain spawning waters to others, and therefore return to them. In reality, the species were struggling beyond these spawning areas that created a false “illusion of plenty.” For instance, adult barred sand bass travel thousands of miles to spawn in one of just six main locations. According to data taken in Southern California, the annual catch peaked in 2000 at approximately 2 million fish. On the other hand, the catch per unit of effort has decreased drastically since 2000. 

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