Risk management tools for sustainable fisheries management under changing climate: a sea cucumber example
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- Plagányi, É.E., Skewes, T.D., Dowling, N.A. et al. Climatic Change (2013) 119: 181. doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0596-0
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Sustainable fisheries management into the future will require both understanding of and adaptation to climate change. A risk management approach is appropriate due to uncertainty in climate projections and the responses of target species. Management strategy evaluation (MSE) can underpin and support effective risk management. Climate change impacts are likely to differ by species and spatially. We use a spatial MSE applied to a multi-species data-poor sea cucumber/béche-de-mer fishery to demonstrate the utility of MSE to test the performance of alternative harvest strategies in meeting fishery objectives; this includes the ability to manage through climate variability and change, and meeting management objectives pertaining to resource status and fishery economic performance. The impacts of fishing relative to the impacts of climate change are distinguished by comparing future projection distributions relative to equivalent no-fishing no-climate-change trials. The 8 modelled species exhibit different responses to environmental variability and have different economic value. Status quo management would result in half the species falling below target levels, moderate risks of overall and local depletion, and significant changes in species composition. The three simple strategies with no monitoring (spatial rotation, closed areas, multi-species composition) were all successful in reducing these risks, but with fairly substantial decreases in the average profit. Higher profits (for the same risk levels) could only be achieved with strategies that included monitoring and hence adaptive management. Spatial management approaches based on adaptive feedback performed best overall.