Seeking an Expanded Suite of Management Tools: Implications of Rapidly-Evolving Adaptive Response Mechanisms (e.g., "school-mix Feedback")
The premise is presented that durable adaptive responses may be developed within fish populations on much more rapid time scales (e.g., 5–50 yrs) than possible via classical genetics-based Darwinian evolution. If so, there are major implications for the way we may view fish population dynamics. For example, any degree of understanding of the adaptive mechanisms involved, or even a well-founded belief that such mechanisms are operating, would open up a broad range of new considerations for adaptive management responses, design of mitigation actions, and foresight as to the nature and course of climatic or anthropogenic impacts. There is even reason to think that such rapidly-evolving response processes operating within exploited resource populations could cause some conventional fishery management responses to be absolutely wrong (e.g., serving to trap and maintain the populations within low-productivity phases). Moreover, unless the mechanisms involved are understood, it may be very difficult to ever sort out, understand, and adequately allow for the interacting effects of low frequency climate variability. In order to have a concrete basis for illustrating and exploring these issues, the operation of one potential mechanism of this type, the "school-mix feedback" mechanism, is outlined through the use of simple diagrammatic cartoons. These are intended to quickly impart a general degree of understanding of the operation of this particular mechanism and the likelihood that it must operate at least to some degree in real ocean systems. More generally, they may serve to illustrate the natural function of mechanisms of this type in preserving the populations that may employ them, and of the manner in which their operation might affect: (1) the efficacy of fishery management actions, and (2) the interpretation of empirical climate-fisheries relationships and their potential utility as bases for forecasts and management responses. Possibilities for innovative adaptive management actions are suggested.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-04-01
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