Symposium overview: incorporating ecosystem objectives within fisheries management

Henrik Gislason, M. Sinclair, K. Sainsbury, R. O'Boyle

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Following an introduction to the broader context of the Symposium, the score of the oral presentations is summarized under three themes: a global synthesis of fisheries impacts in different ecosystems; an overview of the methods available for quantifying ecosystem impacts; and the integration of fisheries and environmental management. The presentations generated substantial evidence that marine ecosystems have been impacted by fishing. Also there appeared to be a broad consensus that the present approach to achieving conservation objectives of fisheries management does not sufficiently take into account ecosystem considerations. There was not, however, a consensus on what additional restrictions are required, or on what features of ecosystems need to be protected. A way forward is to add ecosystem objectives to the conservation component of fisheries management plans, as well as to the management plans for other ocean-use setters. The aggregate ocean-use activities would need to be evaluated in a nested manner, at a range of geographic scares. in relation to the more broadly defined conservation objectives. It is suggested that the geographic scales for evaluation of ecosystem considerations could be defined in a pragmatic manner based on the somewhat artificial boundaries of political and administrative systems already in place. The six conservation objectives proposed are maintenance of (1) ecosystem diversity, (2) species diversity, (3) genetic variability within species, (4) directly impacted species, (5) ecologically dependent species. and (6) trophic level balance. Indicators for each objective are discussed, as well as reference points that would trigger management actions. Such a broadening of conservation objectives for fisheries management would require both enhanced monitoring and a greater workload added to the process of provision of scientific advice through peer review. Of equal importance would be the challenges of establishing a governance framework to address multiple uses of marine resources. The spirit of the Symposium was that these coupled scientific and governance challenges will be very stimulating. (C) 2000 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)468-475
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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