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Defining Fisheries Management

May 13, 2013

There is no widely accepted definition of fisheries management. According to Cochrane and Garcia (2009), the FAO’s Technical Guidelines (1997) offer a working definition that attempts to summarise the practice or task of fisheries management:

“The integrated process of information gathering, analysis, planning, consultation, decision-making, allocation of resources and formulation and implementation, with enforcement as necessary, of regulations or rules which govern fisheries activities in order to ensure the continued productivity of the resources and the accomplishment of other activities.”

The above working definition carries with it assumptions and biases about what ‘good’ fisheries management should include, i.e., the inputs to the process. The MSC standard, however, is often referred to as an outcome standard, meaning the focus is about assessing what works to produce sustainable outcomes for species and ecosystems. So, to maintain consistency with MSC’s approach, fisheries management is defined as: the framework or system of laws, policies, strategies, rules, measures, practices or customs that combine to determine how humans may use or extract the living resources of aquatic ecosystems.

From here.

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