Assessing forage fish part of Mid-Atlantic’s move toward ecosystem management

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council recently tackled the first of five policy documents that ultimately will be used to develop a guidance document for moving forward with an “ecosystem approach to fisheries management ” (EAFM).

Due out later this year, the EAFM guidance document will be a synthesis of position papers on climate change and stock abundance, habitat conservation and management objectives, social and economic considerations in setting optimum yield specifications, and species and fisheries interrelations.

According to the council’s 2014–2018 Strategic Plan, the objective of the EAFM guidance document is to help the council make fisheries management decisions that promote the ecologically sustainable utilization of living marine resources while maintaining ecosystem productivity, structure, and function.

“As we move forward, the EAFM guidance document will give us a frame of reference for decision-making while we start establishing council policy for addressing these issues,” explained council staffer Rich Seagraves.

Council staffers and Northeast Fisheries Science Center researchers presented a forage fish white paper outlining possible management strategies for currently unmanaged forage fish and how forage fish management might affect future Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications…


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