Point of No Return

Natasha Loder, writing for Conservation Magazine [a good read selection]:

There is no quick and easy way to integrate the complexity of fish population dynamics into management. But all scientists seem to agree on the need to preserve large, old fish and maintain the balance of age classes in the population. From a conservation perspective, there may be most traction to be gained by focusing on protecting the largest fish, which play both an evolutionary and an ecological role.

The solution of maintaing a balance of age classes means a harvest policy that targets multiple age classes and all at a sustainable rate. Such a harvest policy is difficult. First, most harvest is size or age selective, so a fishery might need to be harvested with several different gears. Second, harvesting all ages at a sustainable rate requires great management that fights managing to the margins with diligent use of feedbacks to leverage against the power of commerce.