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Fishing curbs can lead to profit

1:48pm, December 16, 2007

Economists say that their computer models could bring peace, at last, between the fisheries industry and conservationists.

The models show that cutting back on fishing until a marine population rebounds, a dream of conservationists, also maximizes profits over time, says Quentin Grafton of Australian National University in Canberra. He and his colleagues found that after populations recover, profits rise. When fish are abundant, catching the quota takes less time and requires less fuel. The increased profits eventually compensate for industry losses during the prior period of restraint, Grafton and his colleagues say in the Dec. 7 Science.

The team's computer models show this scenario working out in all of the four fisheries studied. In three populations—big eye and yellowfin tuna in the Pacific and prawn north of Australia—stocks could rebound in less than a decade. More remarkable, says Grafton, is that the economic scenario also plays out in oran

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