From Catastrophe to Recovery: Stories of Fishery Management Success

Fishery Management Success: Action,Collaboration, Communication, and Commitment

Charles C. Krueger, William W. Taylor, and So-Jung Youn


Abstract.—Success achieving fishery management goals is possible but often requires concurrent strategies addressing ecology, politics, and public communication combined with some level of good fortune. As an introduction to this book, we identify several themes consistently highlighted among the fish management stories that follow, regardless of species, their life history, habitat needs, or type of waters they live in—streams, lakes, or ocean. In almost every case, success of management relied first and foremost on the abilities of professionals to restore the quality and quantity of a fish’s habitat. The success of these efforts varied in magnitude but was accomplished by a combination of effective environmental regulation, substantial public and private investment, and direct habitat manipulation—whether in Lake Erie (Canada and USA), the Vindeln River in northern Sweden, an Adirondack Mountain lake of New York (USA), or Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus along the Atlantic coast (USA). Fish need acceptable water quality and habitat for living: simply stated and obvious—fish need water! When water and fish habitat are restored, fish populations can naturally recover through colonization from remnant populations, as was experienced in the Scioto River, Ohio. In some cases, populations were restored by stocking fish, using careful genetic considerations, such as told for Snake River Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynchus nerka. Public engagement was a common theme among case studies presented in this text. Public support for management yielded the political will to provide funding, regulation, and enforcement. Public involvement was a critical component of stories told about Great Smoky Mountains Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis, Pacific salmon in British Columbia and Idaho, and Tonle Sap fisheries of Cambodia. Consistently, management success came when goals were clearly articulated and combined with an effective consensus-built management plan that had the long-term commitment of personnel and support of their agencies. These attributes yielded programs where actions were taken and long-term monitoring and assessment were implemented to gauge success. Assessment information allowed programs to be adaptive over time to changes in the ecological system and society and thereby helped address new, as well as ongoing, challenges the fish and fishery were experiencing. The stories in this text provide incontrovertible evidence that good things can happen with the development and implementation of effective fish management programs, demonstrating the value of our profession and providing clear evidence that success is not an impossible allusion but rather an achievable event. These success stories of restored fish and fisheries throughout the world should be celebrated within fishery science.