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Halibut being unloaded from a vessel. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

A task force to boost fisheries management

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Friday, May 09, 2014, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

A group of scientists is to work to create a practical ‘blueprint’ that managers can use to make ecosystem-based fisheries management operational.

These scientists form part of the Fishery Ecosystem Task Force, introduced by the Lenfest Ocean Program and the University of Washington.

“Scientists have long recognized and supported the idea that fisheries management should consider the relationships of the larger marine environment, but there hasn’t been a clear path to implementation,” pointed out Tim Essington, a marine ecologist at the University of Washington and chair of the new task force.

And he added: “It’s not as simple as managing one fish at time. If we want to continue catching, cooking, and eating fish, we need to maintain the health of the entire system.”

Led by Essington, professor in the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, the task force will bring together natural and social scientists from diverse locations on every coast.

Phil Levin, an ecologist and Senior Scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will co-chair the task force and chair an advisory panel of members and staff of fishery management councils and staff from NOAA Fisheries.

“This task force will provide scientific guidance to implement ecosystem-based fisheries management and provide a path forward for managing our fisheries in a more sustainable way,” highlighted Charlotte Hudson, director of the Lenfest Ocean Program.

She also said: “The advisory panel is critically important because it will help the experts make recommendations that can be implemented using the management structures and data we have today.”

The group will focus on guidance for US fishery management councils but will also provide a framework that can be adapted by other management bodies.
 


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