Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Oceanography



First Advisor

Jeremy Collie


Balanced harvest is a controversial Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) concept conceived with intent to minimize ecosystem disruption and maximize human benefits compared to traditional management. However, most marine ecosystems lack comprehensive production estimates necessary for implementation. We developed and tested two new methods for estimating fish production at the species level with minimal data requirements. Application of our techniques to four ecological production units in the Northwest Atlantic (Mid-Atlantic Bight, Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine, and western Scotian Shelf) from 1991-2013 provided a direct estimate of 2032 kt yr-1 of total fish production. The degree of balance between catch and production distributions at the species level, assessed using application of a number of ecological indices, ranged from 0.14 to 0.91 on a scale from 0-1. Increased balance was positively associated with increased yield in the Gulf of Maine (Spearman’s, p < 0.001) but negatively associated in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (Spearman’s, p =0.045). Despite indefinite results about ecological and human impacts, we provide rare empirical exploration of balanced harvest at the species-level and outline new indicators for EBFM.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.