The following article was published in Frontiers in Marine Science, section Marine Ecosystem Ecology.
A Framework for Incorporating Species, Fleet, Habitat, and Climate Interactions into Fishery Management
Sarah K. Gaichas, Richard J. Seagraves, Jessica M. Coakley, Geret S. DePiper, Vincent G. Guida, Jonathan A. Hare, Paul J. Rago, and Michael J. Wilberg.
Marine ecosystems are characterized by many complex interactions. Fisheries managers face the challenge of maintaining or restoring sustainability for individual living resources which are affected by both ecological and economic interactions with other species, through processes like predation and fishing fleet interactions. These species interactions are further complicated by interactions with habitats that are changing due to both human activities and climate change. Often, fishery management systems designed to promote sustainability of individual resources have few tools or processes that also address interactions between species, fleets, habitat, and climate. Here, we review existing and potential fishery assessment and management information and tools, and we develop a potential framework for addressing interactions in management at the request of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. The structured framework can be used to first prioritize interactions, second specify key questions regarding high priority interactions, and third tailor appropriate analyses to address them. The primary tools for the initial steps in the framework are risk assessment and Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE). Finally, implemented management would be evaluated to ensure that objectives are being met, or to adjust measures as conditions change. In the final section, we outline an example to illustrate how a structured decision making process within the framework could work.