Questions for Heather Leslie: Can the market build sustainable fisheries?

Preferentially plate-sized

With restaurateurs willing to pay a premium for “plate-sized” fish, fishermen have an incentive to leave larger fish — the more prolific breeders — in the water, resulting in a more profitable, more sustainable fishery. Credit: Leila Sievanen

Heather Leslie, assistant professor of environmental studies and biology, says it’s a mistake to assume market forces and sustainability must always be at loggerheads. In a recently published paper, Leslie and a group of researchers showed that small-scale fisheries near La Paz, Mexico, could earn a premium for fish that fit nicely on a plate, leaving larger fish to sustain the population. She spoke about her work with Kevin Stacey.