Adaptive strategies for management of fisheries resources in large marine ecosystems

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The adaptive approach to fisheries management involves experimentally manipulating fish populations to learn about the processes regulating fish population size. Although the development and application of adaptive management has focused on Pacific salmon, adaptive strategies have also been formulated for groundfish such as the yellowtail flounder. Application of adaptive management strategies to large marine ecosystems such as the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) is problematic because of the lack of spatial replicates. The biggest resource issue in the EBS is management of walleye pollock. Some of the most important questions about pollock are whether discrete stocks exist in the EBS, the role of cannibalism on recruitment, and the reliance of sea birds and marine mammals on pollock as a food source. In the absence of discrete pollock stocks in the EBS, it may be necessary to compare the EBS stock with the Gulf of Alaska stock, which exhibits coherence with EBS recruitment. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council currently manages groundfish on a single-species basis without considering multispecies interactions. Adaptive management could be implemented under the existing regulatory framework but it will require a philosophical shift toward recognizing and testing alternative hypotheses.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Food Chains, Yields, Models, and Management of Large Marine Ecosoystems