Regulating a complex adaptive system via its wasp-waist

Grappling with ecosystem-based management of the New England herring fishery

Andrew Bakun, Elizabeth A Babcock, Christine Santora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use the New England herring fishery as an example of the unresolved scientific issues pertinent to ecosystem-based management of forage-fish fisheries. The biomass of herring off New England is currently well above maximum sustainable yield (BMSY), leading to pressure for expanded harvests. Associated concerns include: the maintenance of sufficiently abundant forage to meet the current needs of marine mammals and seabirds while supporting the rebuilding of overfished groundfish resources; the preservation of the service functions of a healthy population of pelagic zooplanktivorous fish to prevent possible outbreaks of pests, or hypoxia events; and the limitation of unintended bycatch of marine mammals, seabirds, and juvenile stages of groundfish. Perhaps a self-enhancing feedback loop, involving predation by herring on the early life stages of their groundfish predators, might result in regime shifts that could not be easily reversed. A plausible outcome of these ideas is a dichotomy in management choice between (i) promoting an ecosystem dominated by valuable groundfish resources and (ii) promoting the current ecosystem that features a large herring resource associated with abundant and energy-rich forage for marine mammals, seabirds, and continued high productivity of valuable shellfish resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1768-1775
Number of pages8
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume66
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

Fingerprint

waist
ecosystem management
New England region
herring
wasp
marine mammal
marine mammals
seabird
seabirds
fishery
fisheries
forage
ecosystem
resource
maximum sustainable yield
ecosystems
pelagic fish
bycatch
hypoxia
shellfish

Keywords

  • Bycatch
  • Endangered species
  • Feedback loop
  • Foodweb
  • Midwater trawling
  • Regime shift
  • Stock collapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Regulating a complex adaptive system via its wasp-waist : Grappling with ecosystem-based management of the New England herring fishery. / Bakun, Andrew; Babcock, Elizabeth A; Santora, Christine.

In: ICES Journal of Marine Science, Vol. 66, No. 8, 01.09.2009, p. 1768-1775.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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