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Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management: Case study report West Coast Bioregion. Fisheries Research Report No. 225

Fletcher, W.J., Shaw, J., Gaughan, D.J. and Metcalf, S.J. (2011) Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management: Case study report West Coast Bioregion. Fisheries Research Report No. 225. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia

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Abstract

There is an increasing world-wide recognition of the need to shift the management of natural resources towards the concept known in Australia as ‘ecologically sustainable development’ (ESD). This concept includes the use of ‘whole of ecosystem’ and ‘bioregional approaches’ based on ecosystem boundaries rather than sectoral or jurisdictional boundaries.

This report documents the outcomes of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) funded study to examine the costs and benefits of using a bioregional level, Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) approach. The West Coast Bioregion of Western Australia was selected as a case study and the outputs from the use of the draft national EBFM framework were critically examined to determine whether such an approach would result in more efficient and effective management of fisheries. In addition, this report examined whether this EBFM framework provided better linkages between management bodies, allowing broader marine management covering all activities and relevant agencies – often described as ecosystem based management (EBM).

Using the draft national EBFM framework as a starting point, this study modified this approach to develop a framework that enabled the cost effective implementation of EBFM. The four-step hierarchical, risk-based approach that was developed avoided a common outcome from attempting ecosystem level assessments of merely generating an impossibly large and complex set of issues, uncertainties and expectations.

In applying the EBFM framework to the West Coast Bioregion of Western Australia (WA), the stakeholder workshops initially identified over 600 ecological assets, social and economic outcomes, governance systems and external drivers. This complexity was reduced by consolidating all of these into 60 regional-level risks. A multi-criteria analysis was used to integrate all related ecological, social and economic values and risks into just 24 ‘Agency level’ priorities ranging from urgent to very low priorities.

Publication Type: Report
Series Name: Fisheries Research Report No. 225
Publisher: Department of Fisheries, Western Australia
Copyright: © Department of Fisheries, Western Australia. November 2011.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/18361
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