By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama could protect ocean wildlife and save jobs in commercial fisheries by ending widespread overfishing, environmental and economic leaders and scientists reported on Thursday.
About 70 percent of the world's fisheries are over-exploited or have already crashed, the report said. If this long-term trend continues, scientists have predicted that all current salt-water fish and seafood species will collapse by 2048.
The report said this could be remedied by instituting a system known as catch shares, where the total amount of fish allowed to be taken in a given fishery is capped and fishermen are given a share of the fishery's quota.
That is different than the conventional way of trying to limit the number of fish taken, which is to shorten the length of the fishing season, which prompts fishermen to get the absolute maximum during whatever time they are permitted to fish.