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Re-scaling fisheries assessment and management: access privileges, responsibilities and toolboxes

Prince, J.D. (2008) Re-scaling fisheries assessment and management: access privileges, responsibilities and toolboxes. In: Seventh William R. and Lenore Mote International Symposium in Fisheries Ecology, 11 - 13 February, Sarasota, Florida.


According to the collective experience of Hilborn, Orensanz and Parma one of the three primary causes for unexpected failure in fisheries is the mismatch between the scale of fished populations, and the scale of their assessment and management. Developed initially through my doctoral studies of abalone (haliotids) but cemented through subsequent experience with fisheries for lobster, penaeid prawns, deepwater teleosts, sharks and marine mammals my bias promotes the “tyranny of scale” to the top of Hilborn et al.’s list. Early in my career while still working within the constraints of a fisheries agency the challenge of assessing and managing a world filled with micro-stocks seemed insurmountable. However, after almost thirty years working on the interface between fishing communities and government agencies I believe solutions are in sight. Solving the issue of sustaining spatially complex marine resources requires:

• Cultivating the more human approach embodied by Johannes.

• Flexibly scaled social systems implemented and motivated with dedicated access privileges linked directly to the

• Responsibility to fish for data as well as profit.

• A new breed of fisheries practitioners; barefoot ecologists, pragmatic generalists armed with

• A toolbox full of generic pragmatic approaches; flexible survey designs, scale-less assessment techniques, data-less or rule-of-thumb management prescriptions, and software tools for mapping, modeling and visualization.

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