Friday, 29 September 2017

Protected waters foster resurgence of West Coast rockfish


September 20, 2017
West Coast rockfish species in deep collapse only 20 years ago have multiplied rapidly in large marine protected areas off Southern California, likely seeding surrounding waters with enough offspring to offer promise of renewed fishing, a new study has found.
The research published in Royal Society Open Science shows that protecting important ocean habitat promotes the long-term recovery of rockfish such as cowcod and bocaccio that have long been a staple of West Coast fishermen. Favorable ocean conditions also played a role, according to the study by scientists from NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), University of San Diego, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
"The larvae of several species of rockfish that were once heavily fished increased in number within protected areas over the past decade," said Andrew Thompson, a research scientist at the SWFSC in La Jolla, Calif., and lead author on the study. "The larvae have the potential to drift outside the protected region. That's good for fisheries because it can build populations beyond the protected waters too."

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