The researchers say hunting and fishing quotas limit the number of game animals or fish an individual may take based on harvests from the previous year. But that, the researchers say, might jeopardize wildlife populations.
The scientists recommend wildlife managers rethink policies for sustainable utilization. Setting limits on the number of days allowed for hunting and fishing, rather than the number of trophies, would be a more effective way to ensure continued supply and to prevent extinction, they said.
"Quotas don't consider population fluctuations caused by disease outbreaks, harsh weather and other variables that affect animal abundance from year to year," University of Minnesota Professor Craig Packer, a study co-author, said. "Hunters and fishermen can work harder to make their quotas when desirable species are scarce. The extra pressure can cause populations to collapse."
Packer, Professor John Fryxell and Associate Professor Kevin McCann of the University of Guelph, along with colleagues in Norway, report their findings in the May 13 issue of the journal Science.