Addressing Uncertainty in Fisheries Science and Management

This symposium will explore and address various aspects of uncertainty in the fisheries science and management process and build on a recently completed technical report, "Addressing Uncertainty in Fisheries Science and Management" (, which utilized an expert panel to explore issues, case studies and best practices in this area.  Based on that effort, a series of findings and recommendations was issued. Those findings and recommendations included steps that can be taken to improve collection of fishery dependent and independent data,  improve model performance, improve interaction among scientists, managers and stakeholders, better respond to changing environmental conditions, and better communicate the sources and nature of uncertaintiesin the  management system. Management of fish stocks depends upon sound scientific information (fisheries- and ecosystem-based) that is incorporated into credible stock assessments. These assessments are the basis for making management decisions that support sustainable harvesting goals. There are inherent uncertainties in surveys, data collection, the predictive capabilities of models,  ecosystem dynamics, and in the effectiveness of management measures. Those uncertainties should be explicitly evaluated at every level and the risks of their predictions clearly articulated to managers and stakeholders and fully considered in decision-making.Understanding the sources and nature of uncertainty in stock assessments and management approaches, devising effective scientific and management responses to uncertainty, and effectively communicating the extent of uncertainty and possible risk are critical to maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. They are also critical to maintaining the underlying effectiveness and credibility of fisheries management.
Eric Schwaab
Steven X. Cadrin and Eric Schwaab
Eric Schwaab
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