Management challenges are opportunities for fisheries ecosystem models in the Gulf of Mexico
Fisheries resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GoM) are under increasing pressure from both natural and anthropogenic stressors that have potentially broad effects on the ecosystem and introduce considerable uncertainty into management outcomes. To address these issues, more holistic, ecosystem-based tools are needed to inform decision-making. A Scoping Workshop with scientists, managers, and other stakeholders was held to identify and prioritize challenges in the GoM that could be addressed using ecosystem models, and how best to incorporate those models into the existing fisheries assessment and management framework. Challenges identified were associated with uncertainty in stock assessments, environmental stressors, multi-species reference points, invasive species, habitat effects, spatial management, and forage fisheries. Short-term priorities included those that address critical assumptions in stock assessments and inform imminent decision making, whereas long-term priorities were those associated with environmental stressors and novel management approaches. This information is intended to guide future ecosystem modeling efforts and help advance ecosystem based fisheries management in the region.
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