Lecture 4 the process of fisheries management
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Lecture 4: The Process of Fisheries Management. Chapter 2. Definitions of Fish Management. Manipulation of aquatic organisms, aquatic environments, and their human users to produce sustained and ever increasing benefits for people.

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Definitions of Fish Management

  • Manipulation of aquatic organisms, aquatic environments, and their human users to produce sustained and ever increasing benefits for people.

  • Use of ecological, economic, political, and socio-cultural information in a decision making process that results in actions (e.g., regulations) to achieve goals established for fisheries / aquatic resources.

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Objectives of Lecture 4

  • Introduce students to the general process of fisheries management (aquatic ecosystem management).

  • Emphasize the importance of team work, a goal-oriented approach, on-going evaluation and revision, and an ecosystem perspective.

  • Present an example of the FM Process (Great Lakes Lake Trout).

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Fisheries Management Process

  • A stakeholder driven, goal-oriented, cyclic process that is self-evaluating and adaptive.

  • Purpose: conserve aquatic ecosystem resources for perpetual benefits to human societies.

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  • Organisms, Populations, Assemblages, Communities

    • Life history, behavior, population dynamics

  • Ecosystem

    • Physico-chemical variables, aquatic and terrestrial

  • Interaction that determines distribution and abundance

    • Interactions with humans, too

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  • Marketplace and non-market forces that influence monetary value of fisheries resources

  • Fish management agency budgets

    • Where do they get their money?

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  • Laws and official policies

  • Government employees

    • interpret and enforce policy

  • Stakeholders

    • Special interests

    • Industry and “regulated” community

    • Conservation groups (TU, WVRC)

    • Grassroots and citizens (watershed organizations)

    • Tax and “rate” payers

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  • Traditions, values, norms, religions, philosophies

  • The motivation for management because the end product is believed to have value

    • Examples:

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Fish Management as a Team Sport

  • Ecology, economics, politics, socio-cultural factors in space and time

  • Management requires a multi-disciplinary, team-work approach

  • Opportunity knocks=specialized “niches”

  • Ecologists

  • Specialized ecologists

  • Economists

  • Policy experts

  • Social scientists

  • Environmental Law

  • Statisticians

Fed/State Agencies


The Stakeholder Group

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The Management Process

  • Choice of goals

  • Selection of objectives

  • Identification of problems

  • Choice and implementation of actions

  • Evaluation of actions

  • Revision of the management program


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Adaptive Management

A combination of aggressive experimentation with management actions coupled with careful evaluation and timely revision.

Because uncertainty exists:

  • Base management on research

  • Be flexible and willing to change

  • Assess management along the way

  • Not an incremental, reactive approach

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The Management Process

Goals: Long-term statements about what management programs are to achieve and that define the purpose of management.

Objectives: Specific, measurable expected outcomes that indicate achievement or progress toward attainment of goals. Must state When!

Problems: Factors (ecological, economic, political, socio-cultural) expected to impede achievement of goals and objectives.

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The Management Process

Actions: Activities chosen and implemented to overcome problems.

Evaluation: Determines whether the actions implemented have helped to solve problems and achieve goals and objectives.

Revision: Changes in the management program based on findings from the evaluation process (did the actions work? Why or why not? What can be done to better achieve goals?).

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Management and the Role of Science

  • Scientific Research is Used To:

  • Set reasonable, measurable objectives for the resource and determine which goals are feasible.

  • Assess current conditions within the system of interest.

  • Identify factors potentially limiting the value of the resource.

  • Predict the response of the resource value to various management options.

  • Provide information that can be used to evaluate the effects of management actions.

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Management and the Role of Science

The Value of Science is Maximized in the Context of the Management Process

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Example of the Management Process: Great Lakes Lake Trout

  • Native to Great Lakes

  • Declined due to:

    • Sea lamprey

    • Over fishing

    • Habitat loss

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Abundance of stocked and wild lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in Michigan and Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior in 1929-93, expressed as a percentage of the 1929-43 mean (from Hansen et al. 1995).

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Pre 1940: Annual harvests of Lake Trout totaled nearly 3 million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

By 1960, Lake Trout were extinct from L. Erie, L. Ontario, and L. Michigan and were effectively extinct from L. Huron and L. Superior

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Other Problems that Developed in the Great Lakes million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Deep-water cisco populations collapsed.

  • Blue-pike were extirpated from L. Ontario and Erie.

  • Human populations exploded leading to loss of near shore habitat, high levels of pollution from toxic chemicals, and high levels of nutrient inputs.

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Great Lakes Fishery Commission million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

Established in 1954 through a collaborative effort by the US and Canada

  • 5 Duties:

  • Formulate research programs designed to determine the need for measures to make possible maximum sustained productivity of all fish populations.

  • Coordinate the research programs.

  • Recommend appropriate measures on the basis of the findings of the research programs.

  • Formulate and implement a program for eradicating sea lamprey.

  • Publish or authorize the publication of scientific information obtained from the research programs.

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Fundamental Concept of million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

Great Lakes Fishery Commission

The Commission adopts and advocates an ecosystem approach to management and research of Great Lakes fishes.

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Ecosystem Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Protection, maintenance, and rehabilitation of native organisms, communities, and their habitats

  • Sustaining ecosystem diversity and function

  • Ecosystems as management units rather than a single species

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GLFC Focused on 3 General Areas million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Healthy Great Lakes Ecosystems: “The conservation of biological diversity through rehabilitation of native fish populations, species, communities, and their habitats has a high priority.”

  • Integrated Management of Sea Lamprey

  • Institutional/Stakeholder Partnerships

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)


Rehabilitate the lake trout population of L. Ontario such that the adult spawning stock encompasses several year classes, sustains itself at a stable level by natural reproduction and produces a usable surplus.

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)


By the year 2000, demonstrate that rehabilitation is feasible by developing a trout stock consisting of 0.5 – 1.0 million adult fish with adult females that average 7.5 years of age and produce 100,000 yearlings annually.

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

Ultimate Objective:

To develop a lake trout population in Lake Ontario of 0.5 to 1.0 million adults that produce 2 to 3 million yearlings annually and provide 450,000 kg of usable surplus.

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Problems:

  • Sea lamprey predation.

  • Overharvest of stocked trout.

  • Environmental degradation (eutrophication, pollution).

  • Lack of optimal strains and procedures for stocking.

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Actions:

  • Control of sea lamprey through application of selective lampricides.

  • Regulate the sport fishery through slot limits.

  • Water quality legislation.

  • Stocking.

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)


Ongoing field studies evaluate production and age/size of adult spawning stock

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Lake Trout Management million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

Revised Objective:

By 2017, sustain the density of wild trout at a catch of 26 age-2 fish in bottom trawling conducted during July

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TAKE HOME MESSAGE million Kg (over 6 million lbs.)

  • Natural Resource Management depends on the Interplay of Scientific Research and Socio-Economic Value Systems

  • Consequently, Natural Resource Managers cannot simply be good Biologists. They must also have a working knowledge of Policy, Economics, and Social Sciences.

  • Natural Resource Managers must also engage the public in the Management “Process” early on.

  • Fisheries Management is a goal-oriented, “STAKEHOLDER” process that must continually evaluate and improve the management program.