Transition from Low to High Data Richness: an Experiment in Ecosystem-based Fishery Management from California
Fisheries can cause major impacts on ecosystems, but the goal of managing them sustainably requires more and different information than we now have. Few fisheries have the legal mandate for ecosystem-based management or to apply precautionary management when information is lacking, so fishermen have little incentive to demand improved information. The California Marine Life Management Act of 1998 requires the maintenance of ecosystem health and diversity in California’s complex nearshore ecosystems. We present the key elements, the scientific rationale, and an implementation plan for the transition from information-poor, precautionary management to information-rich, spatially explicit ecosystem-based management in the California near- shore finfish fishery. These elements are included in a fishery management plan adopted by the state in 2002. Marine reserves serve as reference points in repeated-measures before–after control-impact experimental design, in addition to their more familiar conservation benefits. The complexity of scientific monitoring, the statistical power of the monitoring design, and the benefits to consumptive and nonconsumptive uses and values all increase from information-poor to information-rich management. The most significant scientific hurdle comes with incorporation of ecosystem and environmental variability effects.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-05-01
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