Shifts in fisheries management: adapting to regime shifts

Last modified: 
March 22, 2017 - 2:44pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 01/2015
Authors: J. King, G. McFarlane, A. Punt
Journal title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume: 370
Issue: 1659
ISSN: 0962-8436

For many years, fisheries management was based on optimizing yield and maintaining a target biomass, with little regard given to low-frequency environmental forcing. However, this policy was often unsuccessful. In the last two to three decades, fisheries science and management have undergone a shift towards balancing sustainable yield with conservation, with the goal of including ecosystem considerations in decision-making frameworks. Scientific understanding of low-frequency climate–ocean variability, which is manifested as ecosystem regime shifts and states, has led to attempts to incorporate these shifts and states into fisheries assessment and management. To date, operationalizing these attempts to provide tactical advice has met with limited success. We review efforts to incorporate regime shifts and states into the assessment and management of fisheries resources, propose directions for future investigation and outline a potential framework to include regime shifts and changes in ecosystem states into fisheries management.

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