A major decline in the catch of the banana prawn [shrimp], Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) merguiensis, occurred over a six-year period in the Weipa region of the northeastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Three main hypotheses have been developed to explain this decline: (1) prawn recruitment collapsed due to overfishing; (2) recruitment collapsed due to a change in the prawn's environment; and (3) adult banana prawns were still present, but fishers could no longer effectively find or catch them. Qualitative mathematical models were used to link population biology, environmental factors, and fishery dynamics to evaluate the alternative hypotheses. This modeling approach provides the means to rapidly integrate knowledge across disciplines and consider alternative hypotheses about how the structure and function of an ecosystem affects its dynamics. Alternative models were constructed to address the different hypotheses and also to encompass a diversity of opinion about the underlying dynamics of the system. Key findings from these analyses are that: instability in the system can arise when discarded fishery bycatch supports relatively high predation pressure; system stability can be enhanced by management of fishing effort or stock catchability; catch per unit effort is not necessarily a reliable indicator of stock abundance; a change in early-season rainfall should affect all stages in the banana prawn's life cycle; and a reduced catch in the Weipa region can create and reinforce a shift in fishing effort away from Weipa. Results from the models informed an approach to test the hypotheses (i.e., an experimental fishing program), and promoted understanding of the system among researchers, management agencies, and industry. The analytical tools developed in this work to address stages of a prawn life cycle and fishery dynamics are generally applicable to any exploited natural resource.
Ecosystem-based Management (EBM)
Fishery management measures to reduce interactions between fisheries and endangered or threatened species have typically relied on static time-area closures. While these efforts have reduced interactions, they can be costly and inefficient for managing highly migratory species such as sea turtles. The NOAA TurtleWatch product was created in 2006 as a tool to reduce the rates of interactions of loggerhead sea turtles with shallow-set longline gear deployed by the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish. TurtleWatch provides information on loggerhead habitat and can be used by managers and industry to make dynamic management decisions to potentially reduce incidentally capturing turtles during fishing operations. TurtleWatch is expanded here to include information on endangered leatherback turtles to help reduce incidental capture rates in the central North Pacific. Fishery-dependent data were combined with fishing effort, bycatch and satellite tracking data of leatherbacks to characterize sea surface temperature (SST) relationships that identify habitat or interaction ‘hotspots’. Analysis of SST identified two zones, centered at 17.2° and 22.9°C, occupied by leatherbacks on fishing grounds of the Hawaii-based swordfish fishery. This new information was used to expand the TurtleWatch product to provide managers and industry near real-time habitat information for both loggerheads and leatherbacks. The updated TurtleWatch product provides a tool for dynamic management of the Hawaii-based shallow-set fishery to aid in the bycatch reduction of both species. Updating the management strategy to dynamically adapt to shifts in multi-species habitat use through time is a step towards an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in pelagic ecosystems.
New coastal and marine management strategies have recently been developed in many countries and regions. From an ecosystem approach perspective, the aim of such strategies is the maintenance of ecosystem integrity while enabling the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services. There is, however, a need for harmonized definitions and standardized processes to deal not only with the interjurisdictional and multidisciplinary complexities that are associated with such strategies but also with the extensive timelines and resources implicated in the planning and implementation of these strategies. The ecosystem-based management system proposed here is based on three pillars that facilitate the integration of an ecosystem approach to coastal and oceans policy development, regardless of the ecosystem or administrative scales. The managerial pillar is based on classical risk-management systems that incorporate environmental considerations and objectives within a continuous improvement cycle of adaptive management. The managerial pillar is supported by governance structures that provide oversight and thereby ensure that planning and implementation activities adhere to modern environmental principles. The information pillar ensures that data and scientific advice are based on current knowledge, and the participation pillar brings together communication and consultation requirements as indicated by the principles of the ecosystem approach.
International agreements and guidelines provide the overall goals of sustainable development and healthy ecosystems, but it is at the national level that these must be implemented while addressing the interests of the nation and its citizens with decisions that affect people as well as the environment. This chapter summarizes the approaches taken by Australia, Norway and Canada during the past 1–2 decades to meet the challenges of ecosystem-based management of fisheries and biodiversity, looking at: developments in legislation and policy, and convergence between fisheries and biodiversity management; methods to address and prioritize issues for ecosystem-based fisheries management; and integrated cross-sectoral management. These three countries have put significant effort into addressing sustainable fishery development and integrated oceans management however, with policies explicitly endorsing ecosystem-based approaches.
Expectations about ecosystem based management (EBM) differ due to diverging perspectives about what EBM should be and how it should work. While EBM by its nature requires trade-offs to be made between ecological, economic and social sustainability criteria, the diversity of cross-sectoral perspectives, values, stakes, and the specificity of each individual situation determine the outcome of these trade-offs. The authors strive to raise awareness of the importance of interaction between three stakeholder groups (decision makers, scientists, and other actors) and argue that choosing appropriate degrees of interaction between them in a transparent way can make EBM more effective in terms of the three effectiveness criteria salience, legitimacy, and credibility. This article therefore presents an interaction triangle in which three crucial dimensions of stakeholder interactions are discussed: (A) between decision makers and scientists, who engage in framing to foster salience of scientific input to decision making, (B) between decision makers and other actors, to shape participation processes to foster legitimacy of EBM processes, and (C) between scientists and other actors, who collaborate to foster credibility of knowledge production. Due to the complexity of EBM, there is not one optimal interaction approach; rather, finding the optimal degrees of interaction for each dimension depends on the context in which EBM is implemented, i.e. the EBM objectives, the EBM initiator’s willingness for transparency and interaction, and other context-specific factors, such as resources, trust, and state of knowledge.
The study aimed to describe and assess indicators that can potentially contribute to the development of Ecosystem-based Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) of prawn stocks in the Malindi-Ungwana Bay, the most productive coastal ecosystem in Kenya. A comprehensive EAFM is required to holistically manage fisheries resources and their associated habitats. The study assessed ecological indicators based on objectives of harvest sustainability and biodiversity conservation. Analyses were performed on data sourced from the State Department of Fisheries, and research databases. Trends in historical landings (1985–2010) of penaeid shrimps from the Malindi-Ungwana Bay were analyzed using LOWESS. Number-size spectra analysis was used to assess the exploitation status of the shrimps, while biomass-trophic level spectra (BTLS) analysis was applied as a potential tool for analyzing multifactor effects on the bay. IndiSeas-based ecosystem indicators were used to assess impact of the prawn trawl fishery on biodiversity of the bay. Results indicate long-term series with two peaks (1997 and 2000) in historical landings of penaeid shrimps and a monotonous decline in catches during 2002–2010. Slopes of number-size spectra suggested increased fishing mortality with time (2008–2012), while patterns of intercepts indicated a general increase in fisheries productivity of the bay. BTLS analysis using demersal fish survey and fish by-catch data suggested reduced levels of biomass across trophic levels and a temporal decline in trophic levels of fish species caught, however, the short time span constrains robust conclusions from the BTLS analysis. Biodiversity and conservation based indicators (e.g. fish sizes, trophic levels and proportion of predators in catches) adopted from the IndiSeas program showed the Malindi-Ungwana Bay to be ecologically degraded. There is need to initiate long-term monitoring programs to strengthen temporal scale of analysis of the datasets and to support use of ecological indicators for resource management and development of an EAFM in data-poor WIO countries.
In ecosystem-based management (EBM), the use of knowledge is considered an important means to reach sound decisions. However, EBM approaches typically entail complex decision-making processes, involving multiple actors and policy levels. Hence, it is questionable whether and how knowledge can be used as a means to reach sound decisions. This paper explores and evaluates the knowledge governance employed by decision-makers to successfully implement EBM in a complex setting. Conclusions are drawn from a case study based on 30 qualitative interviews, document analysis, and observational participation in Denmark's second largest river restoration project, the Houting project. Our findings suggest that disjointed knowledge governance, knowledge bases acknowledging different values and interests, and the use of experiments were crucial to the success, but at the same time partly restricted the quality, of decision-making in the project. Several suggestions are made on how to compensate for the shortcomings identified.
Twenty-first century conservation is centered on negotiating trade-offs between the diverse needs of people and the needs of the other species constituting coupled human-natural ecosystems. Marine forage fishes, such as sardines, anchovies, and herring, are a nexus for such trade-offs because they are both central nodes in marine food webs and targeted by fisheries. An important example is Pacific herring, Clupea pallisii in the Northeast Pacific. Herring populations are subject to two distinct fisheries: one that harvests adults and one that harvests spawned eggs. We develop stochastic, age-structured models to assess the interaction between fisheries, herring populations, and the persistence of predators reliant on herring populations. We show that egg- and adult-fishing have asymmetric effects on herring population dynamics - herring stocks can withstand higher levels of egg harvest before becoming depleted. Second, ecosystem thresholds proposed to ensure the persistence of herring predators do not necessarily pose more stringent constraints on fisheries than conventional, fishery driven harvest guidelines. Our approach provides a general template to evaluate ecosystem trade-offs between stage-specific harvest practices in relation to environmental variability, the risk of fishery closures, and the risk of exceeding ecosystem thresholds intended to ensure conservation goals are met.
The United States has a new national ocean policy that adopts ecosystem-based management (EBM) as its first principle for managing U.S. ocean spaces and marine resources. However, U.S. laws that govern the uses of ocean spaces present a challenging tangle of authorities and mandates that do not easily facilitate ecosystem-based policies. For over 30 years, U.S. marine fisheries management has been guided by eight Regional Fishery Management Councils. Working under the many laws that guide setting stewardship priorities for ocean ecosystems, councils provide the Federal Government with advice on fisheries harvest levels, fish habitat protections, and fishing community needs. Implementing EBM for any ocean ecosystem requires a careful examination of the laws and policy processes that affect human interaction with that ecosystem. This article explores the U.S. perspective on federal ecosystem-based fisheries management, its part in U.S. national ocean policy, and how fishery management councils might position themselves as both EBM policymakers and policy takers for ocean resource management.
This paper systematically reviews and synthesizes peer-reviewed, English-language scientific publications (n=212) to identify relevant research about how Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) is integrated with coastal planning. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) methodology is applied in this study. Attention was given to studies concerning human-environment interactions as opposed to physical or biological climate change issues alone because the coastal planning and EBA approach addresses the management of human actions in nature. The literature references include the issue of climate change (77%); however, limited evidence of EBA in coastal areas are reported (18%), and it is evident that the issues have become relevant in the scientific literature published in recent years. Broad texts demonstrate that SLR is one of the major long-term impacts (68%), and all of these papers recognize the most affected ecosystems in the tropics would be mangroves. EBA is an emerging option that can offset anticipated ecosystem losses and improve coastal planning to cope with SLR because it provides benefits beyond climate change stressors. There is a need to synthesize a road map for incorporation of mangrove regulations into local planning instruments and for building capacity for their implementation. Application of PRISMA in marine science will enhance future reviews, facilitate the systematic search and adequately document any theme, and also be useful in determining research gaps or information needs.