The Role of Forecasting in Fisheries

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 8:20 AM
302A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Andrew Pershing , Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME
Katherine E. Mills , Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME
Nicholas Record , Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay, ME
Conditions in the oceans change from day-to-day and year-to-year, and these changes impact the distribution and abundance of fish.  Fishermen must grapple with these changes on a daily basis, and they are now confronting conditions outside their historical experience.  There is a critical need to provide forecasts of fish distributions in space and time to support the economic and ecological sustainability of fisheries.  For example, in fisheries that rely on seasonal closures, forecasts of phenological changes would increase the likelihood that management goals are met.  As an example, we present an operational system to predict the timing of key events in the Maine lobster fishery based on ocean observing system data.  These predictions are intended to support adaptive decision making in the lobster industry.  Furthermore, strategies developed to support operational weather forecasting could be readily applied to stock assessment models to increase the accuracy of population estimates, to detect the unexpected events, and to incorporate additional ecosystem and environmental information into the models.