Case studies demonstrate capacity for a structured planning process for ecosystem-based fisheries management

Laura E. Koehn, Timothy E. Essington, Phillip S. Levin, Kristin N. Marshall, Lee G. Anderson, Alida Bundy, Courtney Carothers, Felicia Coleman, Jonathan H. Grabowski, Edward Houde, Olaf P. Jensen, Christian Möllmann, Anthony D.M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Structured, systematic processes for decision-making can facilitate implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). In US fisheries management, existing fishery ecosystem plans (FEPs) are primarily descriptive documents — not action-oriented planning processes. “Next-generation” FEPs extend existing FEPs by translating ecosystem principles into action through a structured process, including identifying and prioritizing objectives and evaluating trade-offs while assessing alternative management strategies for meeting objectives. We illustrate the potential for implementing a structured decisionmaking process for EBFM by reviewing fisheries management case studies through the lens of the next-generation FEP process, highlighting two perspectives. First, across case studies almost all steps occur, many occurring in multiple regions, indicating scientific and fisheries management capacity exists to conduct structured process components. Second, adjustments would be needed to transition to next-generation FEPs, as existing activity is rarely conducted within a fully structured, integrated process and examples of certain steps are scarce, but existing examples can guide future management. Implementing ongoing activity within next-generation FEPs would likely streamline fisheries management activity, saving time and resources while improving outcomes for stakeholders and ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1256-1274
Number of pages19
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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