NOAA wants comments on Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management/Deadline: July 31

EBFM considers impacts on entire ecosystem, including people; sets fishing quotas based on how a species fits into the wider ecosystem "rather than the status of an individual stock."

by | June 27, 2024

Defined as “a systematic approach to fisheries management in a geographically specific area

NOAA Fisheries has released for public comment an updated Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Road Map (EBFM). It will guide the agency as it continues moving toward managing fisheries at the ecosystem level, NOAA said in a press release in early June.

Public comments will be accepted through July 31 via e-mail to nmfs.ebfm.roadmap@noaa.gov.

NOAA defines “ecosystem-based fisheries management” as an integrated, science-based approach to fisheries management in a geographically specific area that:

  • Contributes to the resilience and sustainability of the ecosystem
  • Recognizes the physical, biological, economic, and social interactions among the affected fishery-related components of the ecosystem, including humans
  • Seeks to optimize benefits among a diverse set of societal goals

NOAA first established an EBFM roadmap in 2016 to provide guidance on the agency’s policy shift toward implementing ecosystem-level planning for the country’s fisheries. The management style involves setting quotas while also considering how an individual species fits into the wider ecosystem, rather than the status of an individual stock, reported SeafoodSource

EBFM includes consideration of the entire ecosystem, including people. It aims to maintain ecosystems in a healthy, productive, and resilient condition so they can provide the services humans want and need. It also better integrates habitat, protected resources, and social-economic sciences. 

The guidance has already been used by U.S. fisheries management councils to determine quotas for species. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted ecological reference points for Atlantic menhaden in 2021, changing how the stock is managed by considering how the species – which is a forage species for a number of ocean predators – fits into the wider ecosystem.

chris chase, seafoodsource

Like other NOAA Fisheries policy directives, the EBFM Road Map is subject to periodic review. NOAA said since 2016, it has:

  • Developed ecosystem status reports or state of the ecosystem reports for most regions
  • Completed climate vulnerability assessments in all regions
  • Improved or added new fishery ecosystem plans for most regions
  • Completed climate scenario planning for multiple protected resources and at multiple councils
  • Developed and advanced the use of ecosystem models, risk assessments, and risk tables to inform management
  • Increased discussion and consideration of ecosystem and climate issues within management decisions

Public comments will be accepted through July 31, 2024, via e-mail to nmfs.ebfm.roadmap@noaa.gov.
 

Resources

Next Steps for NOAA Fisheries’ Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Road Map (NOAA Library Webinar)

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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