Oct 16 2014

Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management


NOAA strives to adopt an ecosystem-based approach throughout its broad ocean and coastal stewardship, science, and service programs. The goal of ecosystem-based management is to maintain ecosystems in a healthy, productive, and resilient condition so they can provide the services humans want and need. NOAA Fisheries refers to the ecosystem-based approach to management that is focused on the fisheries sector as ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). While EBFM is directed towards fisheries management, a similar approach, accounting for ecosystem interactions and considerations, can be applied in the management of protected and other trust marine species.


EBFM is a new way of looking at the management of living marine resources. The traditional management strategy for fisheries and other living marine resources is to focus on one species in isolation. For example, if a particular species’ population was declining, fishery managers might decide to reduce the annual catch limit the following year in an attempt to reduce overexploitation. However, fishing is only one variable that affects a species’ population. Additional elements come in to play, such as interactions with other species, the effects of environmental changes, or pollution and other stresses on habitat and water quality. To more effectively assess the health of any given fishery and to determine the best way to maintain it, fishery managers should take ecosystem considerations into account.




Fisheries in the California Current Ecosystem

Fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystem



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