Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine

We Really Can Get There from Here: Important Steps Toward Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management

Sally McGee


Abstract.—There is a strong desire to move toward ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) in New England. However, there are many other problems in U.S. fisheries that have prevented timely adoption of EBFM. Changes in the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, requiring catch limits for federally managed fisheries, may help speed the movement toward ecosystembased approaches to fishery management. In the meantime, the term “integrated fishery management” (IFM) is being used by the New England Fishery Management Council to mean incorporating flexibility between fishery management plans to allow, and account for, mixed catch. If IFM is going to provide a step toward EBFM, there are several actions that must be taken: (1) adequate monitoring across all fisheries must be provided, (2) flexibility across existing management plans must encourage reporting and landing rather than discarding, (3) interjurisdictional coordination within and among states and federal management bodies must improve, and (4) application of the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding must expand.