Integrating Fisheries Science Into Seafood Sustainability Programs

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 2:00 PM
Conway (The Marriott Little Rock)
Thor Lassen , Ocean Trust, Reston, VA
Steven X. Cadrin , School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), University of Massachusetts, Fairhaven, MA
Seafood sustainability has become a central component in the production and marketing of fish and seafood products.  The challenge is how to define benchmarks for sustainability that have some basis in science.  Ocean Trust and the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists have convened a series of international forums to bring leading scientists into a direct dialog with major seafood buyers.  While the objectives were to provide reviews on stock status and fisheries management, address misconceptions on the sustainability of seafood species, and enhance public access to competent science on the sustainable management of seafood; the forums have produced new priorities for the integration of environmental variability into fisheries management, new tools for measuring sustainability, and projects to integrate international sustainability guidelines from FAO into existing fisheries management framework.  A recurring observation from the forums is that fisheries sustainability is best defined by management systems, not snapshots of individual stock status or fishing level at any given point in time, but by the capacity of the system to respond to variability in stock levels via management measures in all fisheries under the system's jurisdiction.  We present the rationale for such an approach along with emerging priorities identified by forum participants.