Oyster shares in a Cornish fishery are sustained due to “inefficient” conventional fishing strategies, new analysis suggests.
The Fal oyster fishery is dwelling to the one sail-driven industrial fishing fleet in Europe, and the oysters are caught utilizing hand-hauled dredges.
The “inherent inefficiency” of those strategies is the “crucial feature” in stopping over-fishing and guaranteeing the fishery’s long-term survival, based on scientists from the College of Exeter.
Motorising the fleet would at a “conservative” estimate lead to a nine-fold improve within the quantity of fishing completed there, the researchers stated.
“The Fal fishery sailing fleet isn’t just pretty for tourists it maintains a fishery that could be exhausted if it were mechanised with engines and hauling gear,” stated Professor Richard ffrench-Fixed, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
“This is one of only three oyster fisheries left in England, and the other two (in the Solent and the Thames Estuary) have experienced temporary closures to protect dwindling stocks.”
Oyster shares have fallen within the Fal fishery over current a long time, however the researchers say illness and the introduction of motorised fishing are the largest threats to its existence.
“In this study, we wanted to find out whether the longevity of the Fal oyster fishery was linked to traditional methods that have been used for centuries,” Professor ffrench-Fixed stated.
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“The fishery has gone through periods of over-exploitation, but the key to its long-term survival appears to be linked to the traditional and inefficient methods used.”
Oysters was once seen as meals for the poor, however at the moment are considered “one of the world’s ultimate luxury foods.”
The native European flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) is now a threatened native species on account of air pollution, overfishing and non-native Pacific oysters.
The Exeter researchers used GPS monitoring and on-board observers to display that dredging underneath sail is inefficient in comparison with extra trendy mechanically powered strategies.
“The trend in commercial fisheries over the last hundred years has been for mechanization, bigger boats and more advanced gear,” stated lead writer Stephen Lengthy, of the Zoological Society of London and College School London.
“Bucking this trend, the Fal is a unique fishery where we can examine the efficacy of traditional practices and compare them with modern industrial fishing.
“This rare opportunity has enabled us to gain important scientific and fishery management insights.”
Dr Matthew Witt, of the Atmosphere and Sustainability Institute on the College of Exeter, added: “People are becoming increasingly interested in where their food comes from and how it is sourced.
“This can be used to promote more sustainable methods, and the Fal oyster fishery is a promising example of this.”
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