Seminar Details

Ecosystem-based management: Is it a fairy tale or finally here?




Dr. Phillip Levin - Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA


Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is not a new idea, nor, I will argue, is it absolutely necessary for sustainable management of our oceans. However, human activities such as fishing, even when performed "sustainably", have clear ecosystem and conservation consequences. It is within this realm of multiple objectives and management mandates that EBM is critical. But, how do we actually do EBM? Now that resource managers and policy makers are embracing (or at least accepting) EBM in concept, there is somewhat limited practical advice on how to translate the lessons of ecosystem science into management and implement the tenets of EBM. Despite a reasonable understanding of many of the social and biogeophysical components of marine ecosystems, we lack a framework or process for using science to inform decision making about multiple interacting management objectives. In this talk I will outline an approach to inform resource management decisions. Central to this framework is developing an understanding both the bio-physical and social aspects of ecosystems, and to this end I will provide examples of how we have used both ecological models and empirical social science to inform management and policy. This coupled approach allows us to make incremental progress towards EBM given current management, policy and legal constraints.

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