Monday, May 11, 2009

Law of Unintended Consequences

Arch's post below points to an unforeseen consequence of the so-called "Integrated Preferred Alternative" (IPA). When the state reduces access but changes nothing else, the intensity of abalone take in the few areas that remain open increases. More people, fewer abalone, until open areas are depleted.

Abalone depend on clusters to procreate. Larval dispersal is very local: they tend to stay close to their home coves.

A reasonable person can predict the next step. The abalone population will crash in the areas that remain open. To bring them back, the area will be closed or take limits will be substantially reduced. Fewer open areas add pressure and a negative spiral ensues.

If the IPA is ratified by the Fish and Game Commission, an immediate reduction in abalone take is called for to prevent a crash in the abalone population. Since the consequence is foreseeable now, F&GC should take action in parallel with Marine Protected Area closures.

No comments: