A wide variety of possible strategies for preserving fish populations exist – but an increasing amount of evidence suggests that the best way to protect marine life is through the establishment of large “marine reserves.” These would be areas in which fishing of all kinds is banned, and would in effect create “safety zones” where populations of fish can recover from fishing. Another major advantage to marine reserves is that this conservation strategy would be easier to enforce than some other possible methods. In a marine reserve, a relatively small number of guard boats would be needed to watch for fishing boats entering the area illegally. On the other hand, for a conservation strategy like assigning each fishing boat a limited quota of fish to catch, it can be very hard to know whether each boat is in fact following the rules and taking no more fish than allowed. Major conservation organizations concerned with the health of the oceans, including Greenpeace, are now pressuring world leaders to make a commitment to large marine reserves.
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