UW Aquatic & Fishery Sciences Quantitative Seminar

Sean Cox

Quantitative Fisheries Research Group, Simon Fraser University

Between predictability and chaos: developing the management strategy evaluation approach for Canadian fisheries


Canadian fisheries policy promotes precautionary management schemes defined by reference points, risk tolerances, ecosystem-based considerations, and stakeholder consultation. Although the policy suffers from the usual mistaken use of reference points, vague definitions of risk tolerance, and unrealistic application of ecosystem-based principles, it does offer considerable flexibility in designing management systems that balance stakeholder interests with conservation value. In fact, Canadian fisheries policy appears to require a management strategy evaluation (MSE) approach in which stakeholder consultation is combined with closed-loop simulation modelling to design repeatable management procedures that meet quantitative performance criteria. In the first part of this talk, I review the challenges, benefits, and products that have grown (predictably) from applying the MSE approach to Canada’s sablefish fishery since 2006. I will then demonstrate how Canadian groundfish harvesters are applying the ecosystem-based MSE approach in an innovative way to maintain access to historical fishing grounds amidst growing pressure to implement marine protected areas (chaos).

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