Symposium Summary: Balancing Conservation and Utilization to Sustain Fisheries

Balance_LogoSponsor: The American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists (AIFRB) Building on a long series of sponsored symposia, the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists (AIFRB) convened a thought provoking symposium in Portland. This year’s topic focused on the need to balance conservation and utilization to achieve sustainable fisheries. The symposium started with the results of a survey sent out to AIFRB members, revealing that a majority of respondents consider the current fisheries management system in North America out of balance. However, there was nearly a 50/50 split on which way it is leaning—towards conservation or utilization. Oral presentations included perspectives on commercial, recreational, and artisanal fishing from around the world. A common theme throughout the symposium was the need to address trade-offs and the need to include all stakeholders in the management process. The discussion period focused on the perception of unbalanced management, but moved toward a general recognition that North American fisheries management may be more balanced than commonly perceived. The appearance of being unbalanced may stem from sensationalized headlines; the first one to say something, right or wrong, largely influences public opinion. The symposium concluded that the goal of fisheries management should be sustainability, which can only be achieved through a balance of conservation and utilization.   — Sean Lucey, NOAA NMFS NEFSC, [email protected], and Steven Cadrin and Catherine O’Keefe, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth – School of Marine Science and Technology Read the symposium abstracts here.