Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) for Georges Bank eFEP

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is exploring Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM). As a first step, the Council is developing an example Fishery Ecosystem Plan (eFEP) for Georges Bank and is using Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) to solicit and focus public input.

1. What is Management Strategy Evaluation?

MSE is a process that managers can use to identify and evaluate viable strategies, also known as management procedures. Its purpose is to identify viable strategies that maximize achievement of a set of goals and objectives, ones that are robust and sustainable in the face of uncertainty, variability, and expected trends. Usually focused on harvest control rules for managed stocks, MSE often employs a simulated population or ecosystem that is based on known or estimated characteristics, such as fish biology, fishing gear selectivity, and fishermen’s behavior. It is not meant to serve as a traditional public hearing on management alternatives that already have been developed. Rather, MSE is meant to include stakeholders in the process to agree on objectives, the ranking of each objective’s importance, and how to measure success or failure.

2. Why is the Council using this MSE process for EBFM?

Instead of focusing on producing maximum sustainable yield from every managed fish stock, EBFM broadens the scope of fisheries management to include a balance of objectives and considers the biological interactions among species as well as a variety of effects from fishing and other ocean uses. It requires more complex models to estimate the effects of fishing on the ecosystem, especially when the interactions between predators and prey are taken into account. MSE is a structured approach to consider a complex system and involve stakeholders in the design and evaluation of management strategies. The Council would like to conduct an evaluation of a new approach, getting input from stakeholders to identify viable strategies that may be implemented with a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Georges Bank.

3. Why is the Council using Georges Bank as an example for a Fishery Ecosystem Plan?

Georges Bank is an ecologically well-defined and highly productive area where we have excellent biological data and frequent sampling. As such, many ecosystem models have been developed to simulate the biology and effects of fishing, as well as positive and negative effects on fishermen, communities, and ocean users. We can use this information from ecosystem models and a variety of analyses to evaluate strategies that can be adopted and applied in a Fishery Ecosystem Plan.

EBFM Management Strategy Evaluation Steering Committee

  • Dr. Matt McKenzie – NEFMC, EBFM Committee, MSE Steering Committee Chair
  • John Pappalardo – NEFMC, EBFM Committee
  • Libby Etrie – NEFMC
  • Scott Olszewski – NEFMC
  • Dr. Scott Large – Northeast Fisheries Science Center
  • Dr. Jon Deroba – Northeast Fisheries Science Center
  • Chris Roebuck – Fishing industry
  • Andrew Applegate – NEFMC staff
  • Dr. Lisa Kerr – NEFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee
  • Christopher McGuire - The Nature Conservancy
  • David Plumb

Steering Committee Meeting Summaries

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