What is fishery science and management? Why is it important to MPA design?
Fisheries are among America’s oldest industries and part of our nation’s history and commercial vitality. They are managed jointly by NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils. NOAA Fisheries determines, through scientific research, best fishing practices and regulations to produce sustainable fisheries for individual stocks.
Despite these efforts, fishery populations declined through the 1990s, with devastating collapses on both coasts. No-take marine reserves are one type of MPA that have been promoted as an effective fishery management tool because they have been proven to restore and protect ecosystem integrity by increasing biodiversity and the number and sizes of species within their boundaries. There is uncertainty, however, about impacts on current and future yields outside a marine reserve where fishing is still allowed.
The U.S. currently lacks practical information on how increases in numbers of species in a marine reserve will effect fishery stocks both in and outside of the reserve and how reference points and targets used in stock assessment models will change with spatial differences in fishing mortality rate and biomass. The U.S. also needs to characterize the cost and benefits associated with implementing a marine reserve, using indicators that have joint relevance in management systems focused on fisheries and ecosystem integrity simultaneously. This will enable management to better predict and evaluate the effects of policy decisions on marine resources and the users that depend on them.
What is the Fisheries-MPA/Ecosystem team developing?
- Common indicators for fisheries and ecosystem integrity.
- Analytical tools to conduct cost benefit analyses.
- A summary of changes to stock assessment reference points due to marine reserve implementation and new approaches.
What will the team learn?
The Fisheries-MPA/Ecosystem Team will develop and compare indicators for fisheries and ecosystems to evaluate the costs, benefits, and trade-offs among various management approaches (including marine reserves). The team will also provide the fishery management councils with a document that summarizes how stock assessment inputs and outputs change when marine reserves are part of the management strategy.
Return to the MPA Science Integration page.