There are some species — most notably cuttlefish, an aggressive mollusk — that can’t survive without the protection of a ripening sea urchin. Unfortunately, they’re threatened by fishermen’s inability to harvest them.
In the summer of 2009, a group of scientists — including Stephen F. Beeman, the former curator of invertebrate zoology at the National Museum of Natural History — launched the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ripening Sea urchin Recovery Program as an effort to save the cuttlefish. A successful program in this regard could improve the quality and quantity of cuttlefish from coastal areas.
What species could benefit from a recovery program?
A recovery program would provide the public with greater information that can help the fishermen to optimize their catch. As part of a recovery program, the fishermen would need to use more environmentally friendly techniques to reduce the risk factors that contribute to their loss of life.
What impact would a recovery program have?
A successful program in this regard could improve the quality and quantity of cuttlefish from coastal areas. To date, the majority of recovery efforts include a total of 30 species, including cuttlefish, the endangered blue-eyeed cuttlefish, orang-utans, yellow-bellied cuttlefish and several other endangered sea urchins.
Why would a recovery program help cuttlefish?
A recovery program would increase the quality and quantity of a vital industry that supports more than 12 million tourists each year. By implementing a recovery program, it would also help to reduce coastal pollution by minimizing the amount of shrimp that get caught and not catching the fish during harvest, while also conserving valuable resources like the urchin itself.
Could a recovery program lead to increased production and tourism?
The short term answer is no. However, there are some signs that a recovery program would contribute positively to the future fishery, which is dependent on the reduction of the amount of urchin that gets caught annually.
Where’d the idea come from?
The idea for a recovery program is based on a concept that is commonly used throughout history, the Mediterranean fisheries conservation, where a conservation measure was introduced into each fishery for five or more years. By applying this concept to the sea urchin, the researchers found that it could become a model of sorts to guide future efforts and provide the fishermen with the information they need to properly manage their practices and produce better
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