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The management of fisheries and marine ecosystems

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The management of fisheries and marine ecosystems
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Swift, in Driven by Nature—Plant Litter Quality and Decomposition , G. Cadisch andK. E. Giller, Eds. (CAB International, Wallingford, UK,1997), pp. 125–134.24. M. H. Beare et al. , Ecol. Monogr. 62 , 569 (1992).25. M. J. Swift and J. M. Anderson, in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function , E.-D. Schulze and H. A.Mooney, Eds. (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1993), pp.29–41.26. E. A. Paul, K. Paustian, E. T. Elliott, C. V. Cole, Soil Organic Matter in Temperate Ecosystems (CRCPress, New York, 1997).27. I.C.Burke etal  ., SoilSci.Soc.Am.J. 53 ,800(1989).28. A. K. Metherell et al  ., in Soil Management and theGreenhouseEffect  ,R.Lal,J.Kimble,E.Levine,B.A.Stewart, Eds. (Lewis, Boca Raton, FL, 1995), pp.259–270.29. K.Paustian,G.P.Robertson,E.T.Elliott,in(  28  ),pp.69–88.30. W. J. Parton and P. E. Rasmussen, Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58 , 530 (1994).31. D. S. Jenkinson, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser.B 329 , 361 (1990).32. S. Postel, in State of the World 1996 , L. R. Brown,Ed. 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Boatman, Field Margins: Inte- grating Agriculture and Conservation (British CropProtection Council, Farnham, UK, 1994).42. A. G. Power, in Forest Patches in Tropical Land- scapes , J. Schelhas and R. Greenberg, Eds. (IslandPress, Washington, DC, 1996), pp. 91–110.43. C. S. Robbins et al. , Comparison of Neotropical Mi- grant Bird Populations Wintering in Tropical Forest,Isolated Fragments, and Agricultural Habits (Smith-sonian Institution Press, Washington  , DC, 1992);J. M. Wunderle Jr. and R. B. Waide, Condor  95 , 904(1993); R. Greenberg, in Forest Patches in Tropical Landscapes , J. Schelhas and R. Greenberg, Eds.(Island Press, Washington, DC, 1996), pp. 59–90.44. R. Greenberg and J. Salgado Ortiz, Auk  111 , 672(1994).45. R. W. Howarth, G. Billen, D. Swaney, A. Townsend, Biogeochemistry  35 , 75 (1996).46. NationalResearchCouncil, ManagingWastewaterinCoastal Urban Areas (National Research Council,Washington, DC, 1993); S. W. Nixon, Ophelia 41 ,199 (1995).47. F. J. Williams, G. L. Hutchinson, F. C. Fehsenfeld, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 6, 351 (1992); R. J. Ci-ceroneandR.S.Oremland,  ibid. 2 ,299(1988);S.J.Hall, P. A. Matson, P. Roth, Annu. Rev. Energy En-viron. 21 ,311(1996);P.A.Matson,C.Billow,S.Hall,J. Zachariesson, J. Geophys. Res. 101 , 18533(1996); G. P. Robertson, in Agricultural EcosystemEffects on Trace Gases and Global Climate Change ,L. A. Harper, A. R. Mosier, J. M. Duxbury, D. E.Rolston, Eds. (American Society of Agronomy, Mad-ison, WI, 1993), pp. 95–108.48. R. Delmas, D. Serca, C. Jambert, Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems , in press; E. A. Davidson, W.Kingerlee, Nutrient Cycling and Agroecosystems , inpress.49. W. L. Chameides, P. S. Kasibhatla, J. Yienger, H.Levy II, Science 264 , 74 (1994).50. P. M. Vitousek  et al. , Ecol. Appl. , in press; J. N.Galloway, W. H. Schlesinger, H. Levy II, A. Michaels,J. L. Schnoor, Global Biogeochem. Cycles 9 , 235(1995).51. D. Pimentel and C. A. Edwards, Bioscience 32 , 595(1982);S.J.Rische,D.Pimentel,H.Grover, Ecology  67 , 505 (1986).52. S. Postel and S. Carpenter, in Natures Services ,G. C. Daily, Ed. (Island Press, Washington, DC,1997), pp. 195–214.53. P. Crosson, Science 269 , 461 (1995); D. Pimentel,Ed., World Soil Erosion and Conservation (Cam-bridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1993).54. J. K. Lynam and R. W. Herdt, Agric. Econ. 3 , 381(1989); A. M. Izac and M. J. Swift, Ecol. Econ. 11, 105 (1994); B. Becker, Issues Agric. 10 , 63 (1997).55. P. L. Woomer and M. J. Swift, Eds., The Biological Management of Tropical Soil Fertility  (Wiley, Chi-chester, UK, 1994).56. M. J. Swift, in The Role of Soil Biota in Sustainable Agriculture , L. Brussaard and R. Ferrera-Cerrato,Eds. (Advances in Agroecology, Lewis, MI, 1997).57. Figure is modified from A. S. Donigian Jr. et al. [ EPAReport. EPA/600/R-94-067  (1994)].58. FAOSTAT, statistics database. 59. We thank P. Vitousek, R. Naylor, R. Kelly, and G.Dailyforextendeddiscussionsonthesetopics,G.P.Robertson and two anonymous reviewers forthoughtful reviews of earlier drafts, and K. McElwainand B. Techau for assistance with manuscript prep-aration. Partially supported by grants to W.J.P.(NASA-NAGW-2662, NSF-BSR-9011659, NIH-1-R01-HD33554, and EPA-R824993-01-0), P.A.M.(NASA-NAGW-3869 and USDA-94-37101-0437),and A.G.P. (NSF-9407919 and USDA-95-33120-1877). The Management of Fisheriesand Marine Ecosystems Louis W. Botsford, Juan Carlos Castilla, Charles H. Peterson The global marine fish catch is approaching its upper limit. The number of overfishedpopulations, as well as the indirect effects of fisheries on marine ecosystems, indicatethat management has failed to achieve a principal goal, sustainability. This failure isprimarily due to continually increasing harvest rates in response to incessant sociopo-litical pressure for greater harvests and the intrinsic uncertainty in predicting the harvestthat will cause population collapse. A more holistic approach incorporating interspecificinteractions and physical environmental influences would contribute to greater sustain-ability by reducing the uncertainty in predictions. However, transforming the manage-ment process to reduce the influence of pressure for greater harvest holds more im-mediate promise.  F ishing the oceans is a significant humanenterprise. Fisheries provide direct employ - ment to about 200 million people ( 1 ) andaccount for 19% of the total human con - sumption of animal protein. Globally, first - sale fishery revenues produce about U.S.$70billion, and fishes represent important com - modities in trade from developing coun - tries, showing net exports of about U.S.$13billion in 1993 ( 2 ). Recent assessments bythe United Nations Food and AgricultureOrganization (FAO) of the state of theworld’s fisheries indicate a leveling off of landings in the 1990s, at about 100 milliontons ( 3 ). Almost half of the individual fishstocks are fully exploited, and another 22%are overexploited (Fig. 1). Because of thecomplexity of marine ecosystems and thedifficulty in sampling them, fishery scien - tists have only rarely taken an ecosystemapproach to management. It has been pro - posed that this lack of ecosystem approach - es to fisheries management contributes toworld overfishing and stock depletion ( 4 ).Despite multiple definitions of ecosystemmanagement, there is widespread and grow - ing commitment by natural resource man - agement agencies to this approach. TheEcological Society of America advocates adefinition that emphasizes the holistic con - sideration of interactions among compo - nents of the ecosystem to achieve sustain - ability through adaptive management ( 5 ). L. W. Botsford is in Department of Wildlife, Fish, andConservation Biology, Center for Population Biology,University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. J. C.Castilla is in Departamento de Ecologia, Facultad deCiencias Biologicas, Pontificia Universidad Catolica deChile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile. C. H. Peterson is atUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Institute of Marine Sciences, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA. H UMAN - D OMINATED E COSYSTEMS : A RTICLES ⅐ SCIENCE ⅐ VOL. 277 ⅐ 25 JULY 1997 509  This article focuses on two defining aspectsof ecosystem management by assessingwhether greater sustainability is likely to beachieved through a more holistic approachthat incorporates multispecies interactionsand influences of the physical environment. Effects of Fisheries onMarine Ecosystems Fishing activities have altered and degradedmarine ecosystems through both direct andindirect effects, especially in coastal regionswhere fishing and other anthropogenic per - turbations are most intense. In terms of direct effects, fisheries remove the results of about 8% of the global primary productionin the sea, but they require 24 to 35% of upwelling and continental shelf production( 6 ). Fishing reduces the abundance of tar - geted stocks; the numerous examples world - wide of depletion through overfishing ( 7 )are especially serious for species with highnatural longevity and low reproductive rate( 8 ). Classic examples of population collapsewhere fishing may have played a role in - clude the sardine stocks off California and Japan in the late 1940s (Fig. 2) and theanchovy off Peru and Chile in 1972 ( 9 ).Such collapses are of global importance be - cause sardines, anchovies, and related spe - cies are a dominant part of world catches(currently 7 of the top 10 species). Morerecent examples of overfishing include thecollapse of the Canadian cod fishery andseveral New England groundfish stocks( 10 ). Even where stock abundances remainhigh, effects of size - selective fishing imperilfuture resiliency and sustainability by mark - edly reducing average age, size at age, andgenetic diversity ( 11 ). The capture and in - creased mortality of less desirable, oftenjuvenile, stages of nontarget species are sub - stantial, exceeding catches of targeted spe - cies in many fisheries owing to use of effi - cient but nonselective fishing gears andhigh prices of a few target species that sub - sidize that wastage ( 12 ).Indirect effects of fishing can have moreimportant impacts on marine ecosystemstructure and dynamics than do removals of the fish themselves. Many nearshore eco - systems have been substantially alteredthrough destruction of benthic biogenichabitat. Dredging, trawling, long - hauling,and igniting explosives have killed and re - moved the emergent sessile organisms thatprovide critical structural habitat on other - wise relatively featureless sea floors ( 8 ). Thecontributions of fishing activities to wide - spread destruction of coral reefs, temperateoyster and polychaete reefs, seagrasses, andother epibenthic organisms ( 13 ) have re - percussions throughout the ecosystem be - cause structural habitat plays an importantrole in recruitment, prey protection, andsustaining biodiversity ( 14 ).Indirect trophic (food web) interactionsinduced by fishery removals represent a sec - ond class of important indirect effects of fishing. The few documented marine exam - ples of top - down controls on communityorganization typically involve loss of a toppredator such as sea otters or lobsters fromcoastal benthic systems; the consequent re - lease from predation allows prey species toexpand their cover on rock surfaces, leadingto enhanced competition and displacementof less competitive species by a few domi - nants ( 15 ). Another example of this processis the overfishing of herbivorous fishes oncoral reefs, which together with eutrophi - cation allows macroalgae to overgrow andkill corals ( 16 ). In Chile, removal of amuricid gastropod, loco, permits domina - tion of its principal prey, a mussel, insteadof two local barnacles ( 17 ) (Fig. 3). Despitethe paucity of documentation of analogoustop - down controls of community organiza - tion in the deep ocean ( 9 ), a few nearshorepelagic examples ( 18 ) combined with theselective nature of fishing preferentially onlarger, top predators in the sea imply apotential for (thus far undetected) analo - gous top - down indirect trophic effects indeep oceans.Fishing is presumed to release competingspecies from competition with the targetedspecies, but this indirect response is difficultto confirm ( 19 ). Evidence suggests that theremoval of baleen whales from high - lati - tude oceans has provided now unutilizedzooplankton prey to fuel alternative ener - getic pathways ( 20 ). The increase of theanchovy population in the California Cur - rent after the decline of the sardine off thewest coast of the United States in the late1940s (Fig. 2) suggests an analogous com - petitive release, but similar covariabilitydoes not appear in longer time records. Note, however, that the sardine populationoff Peru and Chile increased after the de - cline of the anchoveta in 1972. Fishingintensively on sardines, anchovies, and oth - er forage species also harms populations of     B   i  o  m  a  s  s Fishing mortality 3%RecoveringUnder-exploited9%Moderatelyexploited23%Over-exploited16% Depleted6% Fully to heavilyexploited44% Fig.1. Schematic view of the distri-bution of degree of exploitation of world fisheries with their relativebiomass and fishing mortality rateindicated. Most of the data are inthe range of biomass and fishingrate that indicates a fully exploitedpopulationoranoverexploitedpop-ulation [redrawn from (  2  )]. 0510150501001501900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 Peru and Chile ( × 10 6 )Peru and Chile ( × 10 3 )California ( × 10 5 )Japan ( × 10 6 )Alaska    M  e   t  r   i  c   t  o  n  s   M   i   l   l   i  o  n  s  o   f  s  a   l  m  o  n SardinesSalmonAnchovyYear Fig. 2. Catch records forseveral Pacific species.Catches of sardines in theCalifornia Current and off Japan increased and de-creased synchronously inthe early part of this century.Off Peru and Chile, the sar-dine increased after the de-cline of the anchovy in themid-1970s. The Japanesesardine increased at thesame time. The sardine off California is also increasing,but is not yet abundantenough to be harvested (notshown). Salmon catches in Alaska have been similar tothe Japanese and Californiasardines. SCIENCE ⅐ VOL. 277 ⅐ 25 JULY 1997 ⅐ 510  natural consumers of those prey, includingseabirds and marine mammals ( 21 ). Criticalbottlenecks in the life histories of manyseabirds and marine mammals occur duringthe energetically demanding raising of young; this rearing is typically tied to arelatively circumscribed nearshore location,so the temporally and spatially localizeddepletions of forage fishes can imperil re - production and drive population declines( 22 ). Provision of discarded fish to scaven - gers, typically larger, more aggressive sea - birds, also has pronounced effects on coastalmarine ecosystems, in part because thoseaggressive seabirds disrupt and alter thebroader seabird community through nestpredation and aggression ( 12 ). Physical Influences onMarine Ecosystems Understanding the widespread, often dra - matic, effects of fishing on marine ecosys - tem structure and dynamics requires assess - ing the confounding influence of the vary - ing physical environment. Fisheries scien - tists have long been concerned with theeffects of annual changes in weather andphysical oceanographic conditions ( 23 ) toenable them to make year - to - year adjust - ments in management. Their traditional fo - cus has been on variability on yearly timescales and spatial scales encompassing therange of the population of interest. For ex - ample, coupled changes in the atmosphereand the ocean occur irregularly every fewyears to create ENSO (El Nin˜o–SouthernOscillation) conditions in the Pacific.These conditions involve warmer watersover a range of latitudes in the easternPacific (Fig. 4), which are accompanied bychanges in coastal circulation. Ecologicalconsequences of ENSO events along thecoasts of South and North America includea decline in primary productivity near theequator ( 24 ), a decline in zooplankton pro - ductivity in the California Current ( 25 ),and diminished survival and growth of somefishes such as salmon, mackerel, and ancho - veta ( 9 , 26 ).A significant recent advance in the un - derstanding of how the physical environ - ment alters ocean ecosystems is the realiza - tion that large - scale changes called regimeshifts occur across entire ocean basins everyfew decades. The best documented regimeshift took place during the mid - 1970s in thenorth Pacific Ocean, when intensificationof the Aleutian low - pressure system wasaccompanied by shifts in many biologicallysignificant physical variables ( 27 ), includ - ing the change in 1976 from cooler towarmer conditions (Fig. 4). In the subarcticPacific, some of these changes, such as anincrease in the depth of the mixed layer( 28 ), may have been responsible for impor - tant biological changes, namely, increasesin chlorophyl concentrations ( 29 ) andAlaskan salmon catches ( 30 ) (Fig. 2), and ashift from shrimp to fish (gadoids and flat - fish) dominance in the northern Gulf of Alaska ( 31 ) (Fig. 5). Awareness of broad - scale regime shifts has led to increased un - derstanding of the congruence of majorchanges in populations of sardines and an - chovy stocks in coastal ecosystems aroundthe world ( 32 ) (Fig. 2), and support is grow - ing for the hypothesis that these populationshifts are the result of long - term, wide - scalechanges in physical conditions, rather thanjust fishing.Recent research efforts on the biologicaleffects of physical oceanographic conditionsare also being directed toward finer spatialand temporal scales than traditionally treat - ed. Analysis of the effects of events at thespatial scale of individual fish during criticallarval and juvenile stages has the potentialto illuminate how biological productivityvaries over larger spatial scales. Examplesinclude the way in which weekly fluctua - tions in upwelling winds affect primary pro - ductivity ( 33 ), and the importance of occa - sional calm periods that allow feeding of larval fishes ( 34 ). These weekly fluctuationsin upwelling winds also drive mesoscale(that is, 10 to 100 km) circulation, whichdetermines the transport of planktonic lar - vae and hence recruitment to harvestedpopulations ( 35 ). This short - term variabil - ity in recruitment to fish populations ap - ABCD Fig. 3. The effects of harvest on community structure can be most easily seen in the rocky intertidal. Inthis example from the Coastal Preserve of the Estacion Costera de Investigaciones Marinas at LasCruces,Chile,intertidalfood-gatheringactivitieswerestoppedin1981.(  A   )OneyearbeforethePreservewas established, the mussel Perumytilus purpuratus covered almost 100% of the rocky shore and thekeystonecarnivorousgastropod Concholepasconcholepas ,“loco,”wasrareduetoharvest( 17,62  ).( B  )Within a couple of years, loco density increased and they readily consumed the mussels. ( C and D  ) Threeand12yearslater,locodensitywasmuchhigher,themusselswerealmostcompletelyeliminated,and three species of barnacles and different species of macroalgae had replaced the mussels ( 17   ). 600 15 30 45197519801985 North latitude(degrees)    Y  e  a  r Fig.4. Differencesof  Ϯ 0.5°Cfromseasonalmean0to200kmfromshore.ENSO(ElNin˜o–SouthernOscillation)eventscauseoccasionalwarmingandcooling at various latitudes on annual time scales. A shift from a cool to a warm regime occurred in1976 accompanied with the intensification of the Aleutian low-pressure zone [redrawn from Coleand McLain (  27   )]. H UMAN - D OMINATED E COSYSTEMS : A RTICLES ⅐ SCIENCE ⅐ VOL. 277 ⅐ 25 JULY 1997 511  pears to be responsible for yearly differencesin the spatial pattern of recruitment, whichdrives the spatial dynamics of marine meta - populations (groups of populations con - nected by larval dispersal) ( 36 ). Fisheries Management For as long as fluctuations in fishery land - ings have been a collective human concern,various concepts of marine ecosystems havebeen proposed as a basis for management.Thomas Huxley’s 1884 view that “probablyall great sea - fisheries are inexhaustible” ( 37 ,p. 53) was countered at the same sympo - sium by Ray Lankester’s concerns for theremoval of spawning stock and call for con - sideration of nontarget species. He main - tained that the fish removed were not su - perfluous, as claimed, but rather had “aperfectly definite place in the complex in - teractions of the living beings within theirarea” ( 37 , p. 54). However, despite appealsfor ecosystem management of ocean fisher - ies ( 4 ), development of multispecies stockassessment methods ( 38 ), and new conceptsof large marine ecosystems ( 39 ), few fisher - ies are actually managed on a multispeciesbasis ( 40 ).One goal of ecosystem management,sustainability, has a long tradition in fish - eries; because fish growth rates, survivalrates, and reproductive rates increasewhen fishing reduces population density,they produce a surplus of biomass that canbe harvested ( 41 ). This rationale implic - itly accounts for some nontarget species inthat fishing was considered to “thin” thefish population, making more prey avail - able. Maximizing sustained yield on thisbasis was a goal of fisheries managementthrough the middle of this century. Thegoal of maximum sustained yield (MSY)was challenged 20 years ago ( 42 ) on sev - eral grounds: It put populations at toomuch risk; it did not account for spatialvariability in productivity; it did not ac - count for species other than the focus of the fishery; it considered only the benefits,not the costs, of fishing; and it was sensi - tive to political pressure. In fact, none of these criticisms was aimed at sustainabilityas a goal. The first one noted that seekingthe absolute MSY with uncertain param - eters was risky. The rest point out that thegoal of MSY was not holistic; it left outtoo many relevant features.Current fisheries management dependson stock assessments to estimate populationparameters of the focal species from the ageor length structure of past catches, biomassof past catches, past fishing effort, and fish - ery - independent surveys ( 43 ). In the mostcommon institutional format for fisheriesmanagement ( 44 ), fisheries scientists for - mulate potential management actions basedon these estimates, then provide them tofishery managers, who weigh their sociopo - litical consequences in deciding which toimplement. This structure leads managersto constantly increase fishing pressure toexcessive levels because of the “ratchet ef  - fect” ( 7 , 45 ): Managers, under constant po - litical pressure for greater harvests becauseof their short - term benefits to society (jobsand profits), allow harvests to increasewhen fishery scientists cannot specify withcertainty that the next increase will lead tooverfishing and collapse. This is a one - wayratchet effect for two reasons: There is rare - ly political pressure for lower harvest rates(fewer jobs and lower profits in the imme - diate future), and the burden of provingwhether higher harvests are harmful falls onthe fishery managers, not the fishing indus - try. The result is a continuous, unidirec - tional increase in fishing effort, and in somecases fishery collapse. In a few instances,mistakes in stock assessment also may havebeen made [for example, the Canadian codstocks ( 10 , 46 )]. However, for the mostpart, overfishing is due to the ratchet effect.Proposed solutions to the lack of sustain - ability of fisheries must change the twoelements of this root cause of overfishing,either by reducing uncertainty in predictingthe effects of management or by reducingthe pressure on managers for increased har - vest. However, because of the limited un - derstanding of the complexity of marineecosystems, the difficulty and expense in - volved in sampling them, and their suscep - tibility to environmental variability, therewill always be great uncertainty in predic - tions of the effects of harvest ( 7 , 42 ). Thus,reducing harvest rates will require a reduc - tion in the pressure for greater harvest onthe management process. This could beachieved, for example, by reductions inovercapitalization of fisheries and govern - ment subsidies of fishing, and will requirecontrolling the open - access nature of fish - eries. In addition, a better understanding of,and changes in, the way that managementresponds to uncertainty could also reduceoverfishing.Because of recent failures to sustaincatches, fishery agencies have developedspecific frameworks for avoiding low abun - dance. In addition to targets that allowthem to obtain the best harvest, they alsonow operate with thresholds below whichemergency actions are taken to rebuildpopulations ( 44 , 47 ). For example, in theUnited States, about 100 federal manage - ment plans now contain a definition of overfishing and stipulate remedial actionsonce a population is overfished. This shiftin focus has increased awareness of anoth - er source of uncertainty, the behavior of populations at low abundance (especiallywhen considered in the context of otherinduced ecosystem changes). The stocklevel at which recruitment to a populationwill decline rapidly is not known until ithappens, nor is the subsequent behavior of competitors and predators. These thresh - old levels are therefore based on empiricalcomparisons with similar species that havebeen overfished ( 47 ). This aspect of fish - eries management presents an opportunityfor fishery biologists and their colleaguesconcerned with endangered species ( 48 )to collaborate on the development of methods to their mutual benefit. Greater Holism Greater holism in fisheries managementcan be achieved by consideration of multi - ple species interactions, broad - scale physi - cal forcing, and the response of manage - ment to pressure for greater harvests underuncertainty. To the extent that lack of sus - tainability of fisheries is due to the ratcheteffect, whether such an expanded focus im - proved sustainability would depend on Fig. 5. Graphic depiction of changes in speciescomposition of catches in a small-mesh bottomtrawl in Pavlof Bay, Alaska, through the regimeshift of the mid-1970s. Commercial catches overa wider area reflect the same trends [reproducedfrom Anderson ( 31  )]. SCIENCE ⅐ VOL. 277 ⅐ 25 JULY 1997 ⅐ 512  whether the first two of these reduced theuncertainty in prediction, and whether thethird reduced the effects of political pres - sure for short - term gain in the managementprocess. Multiple species approaches. Virtually allfisheries in the world target more than onespecies or affect secondary species. Yet fish - eries science has diverged from traditionaloceanography and limnology, as well ascommunity ecology, in maintaining a focuson single - species descriptions. Presumably,the rationale for this was to simplify thesystem by omitting the details of ecosystemcomplexity. That trend has been questionedin recent years; new assessment methodsand management approaches account forboth biological and technological (for ex - ample, through nets harvesting several spe - cies) interactions among species ( 38 , 39 ).However, ecosystem management of marinesystems requires a sophisticated understand - ing of ecosystem dynamics and the organi - zation of component communities. The de - velopment of marine ecosystem manage - ment lags significantly behind managementof terrestrial and freshwater systems ( 39 )due to undersampling of the oceans, theirthree - dimensional nature, and the difficultyin replicating and controlling experiments.Thus far, the value of multispecies ap - proaches in marine fisheries has been interms of post hoc explanations of long - termchanges, rather than year - to - year predic - tions ( 38 ). Even in cases of replacement of collapsed species by competitors, it is notclear whether knowing the dynamics of thecompetitive interaction would have pre - vented the collapse.At present, the ability of marine ecologyto incorporate multispecies and ecosysteminformation into a model that would reduceuncertainty in forecasting the effects of al - ternative management choices is limited.Food web descriptions and even energy - flowmodels ( 6 ) represent static descriptions of the past and do not predict dynamics arisingfrom future perturbations such as alternativeexploitation scenarios. Dynamic models of interacting species are uncertain in theirpredictions, and factoring in physical forc - ing, such as the effects of local turbulence onfeeding success, of mesoscale circulation onmetapopulation structure, and of global re - gime shifts on entire communities, will addfurther complications. One promising, butchallenging, protocol for the developmentof ecosystem models for management in - volves use of adaptive management ( 7 , 41 )to identify strong interactors and erect in - teraction webs ( 49 ) that include physical aswell as biological components.Only in coastal regions, where habitatalteration, water pollution, and other seri - ous anthropogenic influences are pervasive,are the costs of such a holistic, multispeciesapproach likely to be compensated by short - term benefits to the fisheries industry. Nev - ertheless, if sustainability over the longterm depends on retention of the integrityof ecosystem structure ( 50 ), then there maybe long - term payoffs, even to pelagic fish - eries, of adoption of an ecosystem approach.Furthermore, because fishing representssuch a significant disruptor of ocean ecosys - tems, wildlife conservation objectives onbehalf of seabirds, marine mammals, and seaturtles also require and justify an immediatecommitment to progress in multispeciesmanagement. Physical forcing. Recent identification of the dramatic effects of basin - scale, decadalvariability on marine ecosystems and com - ponent species, such as small pelagics andsalmon in the north Pacific, have reducedthe uncertainty surrounding some fluctua - tions in fish stocks. However, in most in - stances the mechanisms of physical - biolog - ical coupling have not been identified, anecessary step to greater utilization of thisunderstanding for prediction. Because opti - mal management and expected catch willvary with climatic regime, such knowledgeshould improve management. However,knowledge of the potential effects of regimeshifts can also introduce ambiguity. For ex - ample, the regime shift in the north Pacificin the mid - 1970s has been proposed as analternative to the completion of the lastseveral dams on the upper reaches of theColumbia River as an explanation for thedramatic decline in chinook salmon stocks.An understanding of the mechanisms un - derlying regime shifts is needed to differen - tiate between causes. Such information willalso provide clues as to the possible effectson marine ecosystems of changes in climatedue to global warming. Physical effects onweekly time scales and mesoscale spatialscales have the potential to provide betterexplanations of annual variability in theabundance and distribution of fish and in - vertebrates than currently used monthly av - erages ( 51 ). Better understanding of theeffects of mesoscale circulation on dispersalwithin coastal metapopulations will provideinformation for rational management of populations distributed along coastlines, es - pecially important for those crossing juris - dictional boundaries ( 36 ). Pressure for greater harvests. The influ - ence of political pressure for short - term gainon the fishery management process needs tobe reduced. Greater holism in this caseinvolves expanding our view of fisheriesmanagement to include aspects of econom - ics and political science. One approach tocombating the common property, open ac - cess nature of fisheries ( 52 ) has been toprovide a sense of ownership to fishermen,either through individual transferable quo - tas ( 53 ) or greater involvement in manage - ment through comanagement schemes ( 54 , 55 ). Both of these still require estimates of the effects of different levels of harvest( 46 ), but they are designed to reduce pres - sure for short - term gain by increasing vest - ed interest in the long term. In practice,this is effective only under certain condi - tions. Basing management on a degree of ownership by fishermen works best insmall - scale, artisanal fisheries in coastalzones, where overcapitalization is notpresent and short - term economic interestscan be overcome by appeals for coopera - tion based on clear scientific demonstra - tion of the utility of such an approach( 55 ). However, it will be more difficult tochange large, overcapitalized fisheries.Particularly challenging are large interna - tional fisheries, where existing institution - al structures are inadequate to overcomeshort - term economic interests, and wheresocially and culturally diverse participantshave little tradition of cooperation.Greater management involvement of stakeholders who do not have an actuallong - term interest in the fishery may evenhave negative effects on sustainability.The concept of optimum sustained yield,allowing for economic, social, and otherconsiderations, rather than simply maxi - mizing biological yield, emerged at a Unit - ed Nations oceans convention in Genevain 1958 and was used in subsequent man - agement. In the United States, for exam - ple, the Magnuson Act of 1976, whichcreated the current federal managementstructure, charged regional councils withtaking into account socioeconomic conse - quences of management actions, and add - ed the possibility of industry participationin management. The record of manage - ment since then, evidenced especially bycollapses of New England groundfishstocks, has led to charges of foxes havingtoo great a role in guarding the henhouse( 56 ). The definition of optimal sustain - able yield in the Magnuson Act waschanged in 1996 to be MSY or less as deter - mined by economic, social, and ecologicalconsiderations. Changes such as these thatcounteract the ratchet effect will occur morefrequently with increasing public educationand awareness of fishery problems. Respon - sible public policy demands inclusion of allstakeholders in the decision - making process,but more effective means of implementingcomanagement so that biological judgmentsare not compromised need to be devised( 56 ). Political forces for short - term econom - ic gain are present in countries at all levelsof development of management capabilityand operate through local, national, andinternational channels. For example, Third H UMAN - D OMINATED E COSYSTEMS : A RTICLES ⅐ SCIENCE ⅐ VOL. 277 ⅐ 25 JULY 1997 513
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