WASHINGTON (AP) – Humans are fishing and hunting animals that are the wrong size and age, in an unsustainable way that flies in the face of nature, a new study finds.
Long-held conservation policies and traditions that tell fishermen to throw back small fry and encourage hunters to bag only the biggest trophies often hurt species instead of helping them, according to the authors of a study released Thursday by the journal Science.
The study compared humans to other predators to see what they killed, looking at nearly 400 species in the oceans and on every continent except Antarctica. And while other animals tend to kill the young, small and weak, humans kill the more mature animals that are in their reproductive primes. It found humans killed up to 14 times more adults than other animal predators, with the biggest differences in prey seen in how humans fish.