The paradigm of marine resource management has shifted away from the traditional focus on single fisheries and moving toward a holistic ecosystem approach. The new paradigm accounts for a) interactions among different species, e.g., predation, competition; b) variability in the environment in space and time; c) synergistic and antagonistic relationships among socio-economic sectors and uses; and d) interactions between all of these factors. This approach, termed ecosystem-based fisheries management, has been adopted by NOAA, the European Union Fisheries Commission, and many other management agencies around the world. However, development of the models and procedures to evaluate and quantify the effects of ecosystem-based fisheries management remain in their formative stages.
- Scaling up: Aggregation and integration of data from multiple sources and from the individual to the ecosystem to aid in decision-making.
- Data-model integration: Integration of data and models to inform management design and assessment of impacts.
- Decision-making under uncertainty: Valuation of different types of information for a range of decisions that are fraught with various levels of uncertainties.
Addressing these challenges requires the development of novel models and methodologies that integrate approaches from the natural and social sciences.