What can be done?
Biodiversity loss is a symptom of environmental deterioration on a global scale. A growing number of scientists, traditionally occupied with the descriptive and experimental pursuit of knowledge, have turned their efforts to environmental issues in an effort to reverse these declines. Even regional fish books that had previously focused on occurrence and distribution now include lengthy discussions of the conservation status of their fishes (e.g., Moyle 2002; Boschung & Mayden 2004). From these and other contributions, a large number of practical solutions to the various problems discussed here have emerged. Many have been tried, many more remain to be applied. A few are discussed below, but the concerned reader should refer to the diversity of synthetic discussions for details, such as FAO (1995, 1997), Leidy and Moyle (1997), Winter and Hughes (1997), Mace and Hudson (1999), NRC (1999b, among others), Hilborn (2005), and Helfman (2007). The most frequently
offered solutions (in addition to the crucial need for surveying, documenting, and monitoring problem areas) include:
❄Pass national and international legislation that promotes sustainable resource use, and enforce that legislation.
❄Create reserves, as large as possible.
❄Promote ecosystem-based management and evolutionarily compatible, prudent predation.
❄Be precautionary: act despite uncertainty, without waiting for scientific consensus.
❄Monitor results and manage adaptively, modifying management plans in response to changing conditions.
❄Promote ecocertifi cation efforts and other programs that reward sustainable fishing practices.
❄Avoid technoarrogance, e.g., technological fi xes that treat symptoms rather than causes.
❄Restore degraded habitat to promote the recovery of imperiled species, and engage in captive breeding of endangered species as a last resort and only in conjunction with habitat restoration.
❄Educate resource users and the public about biodiversity loss and sustainable use.
❄Include all stakeholders at all stages in management decisions, and encourage local/community control wherever possible.
❄Reduce fishing effort and eliminate subsidies that encourage overfishing.
Conservation efforts are of necessity multidisciplinary, requiring knowledge and integration from the biological and physical sciences, as well as from sociology, anthropology, and economics. Regardless, it is apparent to all concerned that the major task of conservation efforts is to reverse previous and minimize future human impacts on natural systems.