MPA Density-Ratio Working Group Meeting

John Field and Alec MacCall (SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division) hosted a meeting of the “density-ratio” working group, an offshoot of the Marine Protected Areas Center Science Integration Program that is evaluating whether closed areas can be used directly in the regional management of nearshore groundfish fisheries.

The basic approach would be to track the density (catch rates, size structure) in a fished area relative to an unfished area and to develop a control rule to adjust catch or effort based on the ratio of densities. Such an approach is appropriate for nearshore resources, wherein the spatial scales of fisheries are generally more aligned with the population structure and connectivity of the resources.

Current efforts are focusing on simulation testing the concept using a management strategy evaluation and on exploring the potential for cooperative management of nearshore fisheries at the community level, including identifying any potential barriers to implementing such approaches. Carey McGilliard, a University of Washington graduate student, plans to present the results at the MOTE Symposium on spatially explicit management in Florida in November 2008.

(August 4, 2008)