Supporting Sustainable Fisheries Management

Supporting sustainable fisheries and fishing communities is a priority for state decision makers, stakeholders, and many NGOs. Many tools, frameworks, and models are available. As we have observed these advancements in science, our approach is focused on arming decision makers with the knowledge they need to make more strategic choices about particular tools. We provide useful syntheses of lessons learned and emerging scientific approaches.


A key component to our work has been forging new pathways for science in decision making. We formally launched this conversation at our September 2013 Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT) meeting on Advancing Science in California Fisheries, which was an opportunity to bring the OPC-SAT together with fishery decision makers to discuss our progress up until that point, and develop a shared plan going forward.


To continue to strengthen collaborations and promote mutual understanding between independent scientists and decision makers, Ocean Science Trust pursues projects aimed at better aligning CDFW’s science needs with the intellectual and financial resources that can fulfill them. Over the last two years, we have explored several questions facing the State: How do we consider our network of MPAs when assessing species vulnerability to overfishing?  What types of changes might a fishery manager expect due to climate change? How can we assess and prioritize high-risk fisheries for additional management action? What are the available data-poor tools that can help California meet its fishery management mandates?

  • Rapid Assessments of Selected California Fisheries: A series of synopses for eleven California fisheries based on publically available scientific information using the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment tree as a framework.
  • Survey of Socioeconomic Data Availability and Applications in California Fisheries: An exploration of socioeconomic data concerning California fisheries, including data availability, current practices for data collection and analysis, and example profiles of selected fisheries.
  • Rapid Risk Assessment Test Case with the Productivity Susceptibility Analysis Tool: An evaluation of the ability of a fish stock to produce Maximum Sustainable Yield on a continuing basis under a given level of fishing pressure.
  • Exploring Fisheries Risk Assessment Frameworks to Meet Multiple Mandates in California: A report that identifies key aspects of ecological risk assessments, lessons learned from existing applications, and considerations for adopting such methods in California fisheries.

Through these projects, we are building a body of scientific knowledge around fishery managers’ core science needs, and compiling a toolbox of various scientific tools and methodologies to support sustainable fisheries management in California. Piece by piece, these efforts are bringing us closer to the trust and process needed to help California’s engaged fisheries community collectively move forward on a shared vision for a stronger, more resilient, future.

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