When Is Enough, Enough? Integrating Emerging Understanding into the Fisheries Management Process

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 2:50 PM
205B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Mark Dickey-Collas , International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Copenhagen, Denmark
Fisheries science is a tool for the provision of advice for the management of sustainable fisheries. We aim to use our science to reduce the risks associated with exploiting wild populations, and to inform on appropriate catches. The paradigm is “the more we know, the greater the certainty, thus the lower the risk to populations that we exploit appropriately”. As scientists, we assume that increasing knowledge will strengthen our advice. We often think that if we add more information to indices used as proxies (such as SSB), we will automatically improve the quality of the advice (both in terms of precision and bias). As we know, this is not necessarily the case. In addition, the management framework (e.g. MSY reference points, Annual Catch Limits or management procedures) needs to be considered in this context. I will discuss attempts to evaluate whether more knowledge about reproductive or ecological traits is beneficial to management. I will ask what improvements in management advice are we looking for? This will be considered in the light of the large number exploited stocks that are considered “data poor” and a resource-starved science system.