A Perspective on Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management of the Kuskokwim River: a 2015 Vision of the Future
Michael Rearden and Daniel Gillikin
Abstract.—In this chapter, we discuss our perspective regarding ecosystem approaches to salmon management and the specific types of information required to support these approaches. The development of an ecosystem-based fishery management plan is proposed with a vision of where salmon management could be in the year 2015. Ecosystem management should not be deemed impossible because of incomplete and unavailable information. Instead, research should focus on key drivers, forces, and processes that affect ecosystem resilience and production of ecosystem services (e.g., salmon). Ecosystem management should include a commitment to assessment as an integral part of management so that learning about the systems can occur while they are being managed. Based on our current knowledge, development of a management plan using ecosystem concepts should begin for the Kuskokwim River and its tributaries. Our 2015 vision for the future includes accurate forecasting of salmon runs, fulfillment of subsistence needs both upriver and downriver, strong markets for commercial fisheries, escapement goals being met, and a strong involvement from local residents educated in fishery and ecosystem sciences.