Benchmarking the 1999 EPAP recommendations with existing fishery ecosystem plans
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Benchmarking the 1999 EPAP recommendations with existing fishery ecosystem plans

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    Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM)is a holistic, multi-species (vs. single species) approach to fisheries management that recognizes the physical, biological, economic, and social complexities of managing living marine resources. In 1999 the Ecosystem Principles Advisory Panel published a report to Congress that outlined eight recommendations for creating Fishery Ecosystem Plans. We benchmarked those eight recommendations against ten existing Fishery Ecosystem Plans from four Regional Fishery Management Councils. We found that Councils addressed and applied most of the EPAP recommendations in their FEPs, and structured their FEPs differently depending on the specifics of their ecosystems, fisheries, and available information. We found that several recommendations were not addressed in FEPs because the recommendation was either too expansive to be applied with existing information or it was unclear how to apply the recommendation to an FEP. Through our review, we also identified three key concepts central to the development of FEPs that are not addressed directly in the EPAP recommendation, but that would further strengthen FEPs. These include the establishment of ecosystem goals and objectives, using ecosystem indicators to monitor progress or conservation and management needs, and the role of trade-off analysis in optimizing yield across an ecosystem. The wide range of approaches and use of the FEPs also shows that each Council has different needs and priorities for approaching EBFM. Future guidance on the development of FEPs should reflect the need for flexibility in fisheries management, while also promoting consistency in development, implementation and use of FEPs between regions. [doi:10.7289/V5WD3XK7 (]
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