Photo © Michael Eversmier
Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management
In December 2011, the Council initiated development of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) guidance document. The purpose of this document is to enhance the Council’s species-specific management programs with more ecosystem science, broader ecosystem considerations and management policies that coordinate Council management across FMPs and the relevant ecosystems. The EAFM guidance document is intended to provide a framework for considering policy choices and trade-offs as they affect FMP species and the broader ecosystems.
The Council defines EAFM as a fishery management approach which recognizes the biological, economic, social, and physical interactions among the components of ecosystems and attempts to manage fisheries to achieve optimum yield taking those interactions into account. The ultimate goal of EAFM is to manage for ecologically sustainable utilization of living marine resources while maintaining ecosystem productivity, structure, and function. Rather than drastically change the Council's management approach, the final product will serve as a non-regulatory umbrella document to guide policy decisions as the Council transitions from single-species management toward an ecosystem-based approach.
EAFM Guidance Document Development
The Council has convened an EAFM working group to assist in the development of the ecosystem guidance document. The current plan is to prepare a series of policy white papers which highlight key ecosystem considerations for focused Council discussion on aspects of EAFM. These white papers will facilitate Council discussion and decision-making during the development of the EAFM Guidance Document.
- EAFM Guidance Document (second draft), August 2016 (NOTE: This version was approved by the Council at its August 2016 meeting. A final version will be posted on this page when it is available.)
- EAFM Guidance Document (first draft), April 2016
- Species Interactions White Paper, February 2016
- Climate Change and Variability White Paper (second draft), April 2015
- Managing Forage Fishes in the Mid-Atlantic Region White Paper, November 2014
A series of workshops is being held to inform the development of the Council's EAFM guidance document. Click on the title of a workshop below to view related background materials, presentations, and recordings.