Fisheries sustainability relies on biological understanding, evidence-based management, and conducive industry conditions

Last modified: 
May 2, 2019 - 3:31pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 04/2019
Authors: Jessica Nilsson, Craig Johnson, Elizabeth Fulton, Marcus Haward
Journal title: ICES Journal of Marine Science
ISSN: 1054-3139

This article recognizes that the impacts and effects of fishing are key to marine ecosystem management and explores the relationship between fisheries exploitation and sustainable harvests, and the collapse and depletion of stocks. A survey of 21 fisheries from around the world assessed key biological, environmental, social, economic, industry, governance, and management variables and associated criteria that potentially affect stock abundance. We developed 51 criteria as potential contributing factors underpinning three main fishery management outcomes: a sustainable fishery, a depleted fishery, or a collapsed fishery. The criteria that scored highest for the 15 sustainable fisheries in the analysis were associated with the broad groupings of biology (characteristics of the species and stock), management (legal and policy frameworks, tools and decision systems), and industry (economic performance and value). This analysis showed that while a fishery might have a high score for management, sustainability is likely to be difficult to achieve without a medium or high score for biological knowledge.

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