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Fishery Resource Costs

Some coastal states are investing in artificial reef programs in an attempt to rebuild or enhance fisheries to sustainable levels. Rebuilding efforts are crucial to respond to past

or

current

overfishing

practices,

which,

according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), still occurs in 48 fisheries in U.S. waters to date.99 Worldwide, 52% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited,

and

24%

are

overexploited,

depleted

or

recovering from depletion.100

Unless the current

stocks of all species r food are predicted to situation improves, currently fished fo

collapse by 2048.101

Artificial reefs are not part

of the overfishing solution; they are part of the problem.

The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) suggests artificial reefs do not protect and enhance species of fish, but rather attract

species of fish.102

The attracting nature of the

artificial reef can in fact be detrimental to species populations as concentrated populations can lead to fishing targets and thus overfishing, leading to a probable decline of species within the vicinity of the reef site.103

Jeff Tinsman, the artificial reef coordinator for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources stated, "Artificial reefs are very popular with fishermen; they know they do provide a high concentration of fish available for harvest."104 Further, Tinsman said that the sinking of 600 subway cars off the coast of Delaware to create

an artificial reef increased angling trips from 300

the to

number of

annual

13,000.105

This

Noaa Fisheries Service Begins Process To End Overfishing By 2010, New Magnuson-Stevens Act FAO (2004) State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) - SOFIA 2004. FAO Fisheries Department Worm, B. et al (2006) Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science, 314: 787 Lukens, R.R. and Selberg, 2004. IBID. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060818- subway-reef.html http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1643767620080517 99 100 101 102 103 104 105

EXTERNALIZED COSTS

dramatic increase of pressure on fishery resources should signal a warning, clearly, if fisheries are depleted due to the rapid harvest of concentrated fish populations, overfishing will reduce tourist dollars to nothing when depleted fisheries are closed for recovery.

A similar example exists in New Jersey. In 1970, prior to extensive artificial reef developments in New Jersey waters, only 3% of private fishing trips were on artificial reefs. In 1991, New Jersey began an aggressive campaign to sink material to create a reef network of 1,300 reef sites. By 2000, private fishing trips to artificial reefs increased to 90% of all fishing trips.106 With 90% of all private fishing trips directed at artificial reefs sites, and artificial reefs making up less than 1% (currently .3%) of New Jersey’s ocean floor, the benefits of fish aggregation for harvest are clear. However, the economic benefits to the fishing industry by attracting fish to these marked sites (where even commercial

The Ex-Vandenberg was sunk in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in 2009 at a cost of $8.6 million. The vessel is a popular fishing destination as it is said to attract fish away from the protection of natural coral reefs within the marine sanctuary itself. However, it is well known that fish aggregation at a marked site can exacerbate the problem of overfishing, as concentrated fish populations can be easily and more rapidly harvested. Image Source: http://www.nileguide.com/destination/blog/florida- keys/2010/05/29/vandenberg-artificial-reef-celebrates-first-birthday/

106

www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/2001/rfnews01.pdf BASEL ACTION NETWORK

37

2011

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