Fishery management doesn’t happen one species at a time or one place at a time. Fishing happens within a whole ecosystem – and that includes humans!
Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM) is more than just preventing overfishing. EBFM recognizes that fisheries take place in a broader context. It moves beyond examining the effect fisheries have on target species and considers other factors, like non-target species, food web dynamics, marine mammals and seabirds, habitat, and other factors. Using principles consistent with EBFM approaches is the best way to maintain vibrant, healthy marine ecosystems and ensure that there is seafood to feed the world. EBFM is science-driven, thoughtful, and specific to the conditions of each region.
Communities across the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska desire a healthy ecosystem in order to produce fish for jobs and for tonight’s dinner. By contrast, many communities across California place more value on conservation and other non-use activities and desire a healthy ecosystem that produces these conservation outcomes. Both definitions can be considered healthy ecosystems. EBFM respects these human aspects of the ecosystem, their correlating socioeconomic circumstances, and differences in regional values.
The Marine Conservation Alliance believes that EBFM approaches should be developed by each regional fishery management Council because a one-size-fits-all approach ignores important regional differences and values – and that just doesn’t make sense.