NEW YORK, March 19 (UPI) -- One solution to the global problem of overfishing is "co-management" with local communities, conservation groups and governments, a U.S. wildlife group says.
A study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Australia's ARC Center for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and other groups examined more than 40 coral reef fisheries and their management in five countries around the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The researchers studied local fisheries' arrangements on coral reefs in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
They found co-management partnerships were having considerable success in both meeting the livelihood needs of local communities and protecting fish stocks, a WCS release reported Monday.
"In an age when fisheries around the world are collapsing, fisheries experts have struggled to find the magic balance between livelihoods and conservation," Tim McClanahan, head of the WCS coral reef research and conservation program, said. "What we've found is that effective solutions require both top-down and bottom-up approaches with a foundation of community-based management."
The study can provide fisheries managers with an example of how governments and local communities can work together to protect local environments and food resources, researchers said.
"Finding and implementing solutions to overfishing that work for impoverished coastal communities is critical for the long-term viability of our oceans and the people that depend on them," Caleb McClennen, Director for WCS's Marine Conservation, said. "This study demonstrates that long-term investment in co-management regimes is essential for the sustained health and economy of coastal populations and their supporting marine ecosystems."