A Framework Assessment of Fisheries Management Systems: Methodology for Evaluating Conformance to FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 2:20 PM
Conway (The Marriott Little Rock)
Michelle L. Walsh , Domestic Division, NOAA Fisheries, Silver Spring, MD
Thor Lassen , Ocean Trust, Reston, VA
Ocean Trust with the support and cooperation of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission,
NOAA Domestic Fisheries Division, and senior fishery scientists are exploring a framework
evaluation process and pilot conformance assessment of federal/state management performance
to the FAO’s Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products. Here we present
the structure and methodology of our approach. The framework is based on a 2010 FAO Draft
Evaluation Framework, which provides benchmarking indicators to validate conformance with
the FAO Guidelines. We evaluate management and stock assessment processes, identify any
gaps between federal/state systems and FAO criteria, and develop recommendations to address
areas of non- or low conformance for consideration by NOAA, Regional Councils, and state
managers. The pilot assessments describe Applicable Statute(s) as well as regulations and
guidelines that apply to federal/state fisheries, followed by a discussion of major stocks that
illustrates how the fisheries are managed. We document what management systems say they
do and track evidence of open and transparent performance to those assertions. We view this
application as a significant step for improving fishery management systems and providing a
process to systematically document and communicate the sustainability of US fisheries.