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Biodiversity Water

Compensatory mitigation as a solution to fisheries bycatch-biodiversity conservation conflicts

By Chris Wilcox, C. Josh Donlan - The Ecological Society of America, The Ecological Society of America
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Globally, fisheries catch of non-target species has major environmental impacts, resulting in social conflict, litigation, and fisheries closures. We use a bio-economic approach to demonstrate that compensatory mitigation – an innovative, market-influenced approach to fishery–conservation conflicts – can facilitate high-value uses of biological resources and cost-effective conservation gains for species of concern. We illustrate the strategy with a seabird example: levying fishers for their bycatch and using the funds to remove invasive mammals from breeding islands. Removal of invasive predators is 23 times more effective from a return-on-investment perspective (ie percent increase in population growth per dollar invested) in comparison to fisheries closures, and is more socio-politically feasible.