Journal Article

Fishery systems and linkages: from clockworks to soft watches

Serge M. Garcia and Anthony T. Charles

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 4, pages 580-587
Published in print May 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Fishery systems and linkages: from clockworks to soft watches

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Garcia, S. M., and Charles, A. T. 2007. Fishery systems and linkages: from clockworks to soft watches. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 580–587.

The complex systemic nature of fisheries has been recognized for many decades, but attempts to include this reality in day-to-day management have been slow, patchy, and of limited effectiveness. The topic is reviewed again here, with a focus on new directions. After a brief introduction, an historical review is provided of the evolution of fisheries assessment and modelling, highlighting the growing complexity resulting from changing societal demands. The “complexity syndrome” is described in terms of scope, boundaries, scales, components, and linkages, and is demonstrated as reducing understanding, predictability, and controllability, attributable to the effects of delays, teleconnections, scale dependence, and self-organizational capacity. Key issues relate to systemic aspects of fisheries governance and the research needed to support it. Special reference is made to the changes needed to adapt to the newly emerging relationships between science, policy-making, and society within complex fishery systems, and between those systems and their environment. A range of concepts and approaches, such as Integrated Assessment, are elaborated as epistemological and operational frameworks to support the transition process. The conclusion addresses the evolution of the global fishery system and briefly reviews the challenges faced by science, governance, and society.

Keywords: complexity; fisheries; fishery governance; fishery research; systems; uncertainty

Journal Article.  5756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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