Oceana works to promote responsible fishing, conservative catch limits and protected hotspots for predators.
Ensuring that predators have enough food means protecting their prey from overfishing and conserving the ecosystem as a whole. Oceana believes the following critical steps need to be taken immediately to protect prey:
No new fisheries for prey
A moratorium on establishment of new fisheries for prey fish is an important first step to protecting prey. The banning of new prey fisheries, like krill, safeguards against potential ecosystem collapses that could arise through overfishing.
Set conservative limits for prey fisheries
In cases where fisheries already exist, setting conservative catch limits is an important component of ecosystem-based management. Conservative catch limits allow populations to recover to healthy levels and can be used to plan for potential losses due to climate change and other threats.
Protect breeding hotspots
Temporary closures of specific areas known to be important breeding, feeding or nursing areas for predators would enable them to obtain the food required to perform such activities.
By limiting competition with fishing vessels, predators would have increased food resources, increasing their chances for reproductive success. In addition, temporary closures could dramatically reduce the bycatch that can kill or harm predators.
Prioritize uses for prey
When setting conservative catch levels, managers should specifically keep the needs of the entire ecosystem in mind. This includes allocating a portion of prey resources to predators prior to setting catch limits for fisheries. Fish caught should also be prioritized for direct human consumption rather than as a fuel for aquaculture or other industrial uses.