Journal Article

Developing management procedures that are robust to uncertainty: lessons from the International Whaling Commission

André E. Punt and Greg P. Donovan

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 4, pages 603-612
Published in print May 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsm035
Developing management procedures that are robust to uncertainty: lessons from the International Whaling Commission

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Punt, A. E. and Donovan, G. P. 2007. Developing management procedures that are robust to uncertainty: lessons from the International Whaling Commission. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 603–612.

Traditionally, fisheries management advice has been based on stock assessments that considered merely the “best” set of assumptions while uncertainty arising only from observation and process error was quantified, if considered at all. Unfortunately, uncertainty attributable to lack of understanding of the true underlying system and to ineffective implementation may dominate the sources of error that must be accounted for if management is to be successful. The management procedure approach is advocated as the appropriate way to develop management advice for renewable resources. This approach, pioneered by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee, takes politically agreed management objectives and incorporates all scientific aspects of management including data collection and analysis, development of robust harvest control laws or effort regulations, and monitoring. A primary feature is that uncertainty (including that arising from sources conventionally ignored) is taken into account explicitly through population simulations for a variety of scenarios. The nature of the management procedures developed for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling and the processes by which they have been developed is highlighted. We also identify lessons that have been learned from two decades of IWC experience and suggest how these can be applied to other fishery situations.

Keywords: baleen whales; error; management procedure; monitoring; stock assessment; uncertainty

Journal Article.  7635 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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