Journal Article

Bridging fisheries management and biodiversity conservation norms: potential and challenges of balancing harvest in ecosystem-based frameworks

S. M. Garcia, J. Rice and A. Charles

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Volume 73, issue 6, pages 1659-1667
Published in print June 2016 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online December 2015 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsv230
Bridging fisheries management and biodiversity conservation norms: potential and challenges of balancing harvest in ecosystem-based frameworks

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Balanced harvesting has been proposed as a way for fisheries management to achieve the requirements of both the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)—to maintain stocks at the level at which they could produce MSY—and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)—to maintain ecosystem structure and functioning. This paper examines these requirements and briefly presents four system-level relationships (spectra), representing ecosystem structures that might guide management decision-making aiming to meet both requirements. These spectra would fit in the widely accepted frameworks of the Ecosystem Approach enshrined in the CBD and adopted by FAO for Fisheries. A size spectrum, relating biomass to body length, is used as an example to illustrate its potential to support management decision-making—much like present stock-based harvest control rules—in more ecosystem-compliant fishing strategies at a sector or ecosystem level, as a complement to those currently used at a stock/population level.

Keywords: balanced harvest; ecosystem approach; ecosystem structure and functioning; Law of the Sea Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity, management norm

Journal Article.  7437 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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