Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020

 
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to
Support NOAA’s Mission in the Year 2020
S. A. Murawski and G. C. Matlock (editors)

U.S. Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Marine Fisheries Service – National Ocean Service

NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-74
July 2006
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to
Support NOAA’s Mission in the Year 2020

S. A. Murawski and G. C. Matlock (editors)

NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-74
July 2006

U.S. Department of Commerce
Carlos M. Gutierrez, Secretary

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere

National Marine Fisheries Service
Dr. William T. Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries

National Ocean Service
John H. Dunnigan – Assistant Administrator for Ocean Service
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
Suggested Citations:

Murawski, S.A., and G.C. Matlock (editors). 2006. Ecosystem Science Capabilities
Required to Support NOAA’s Mission in the Year 2020. U.S. Dep. Commerce, NOAA
Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-74, 97 p.

Individual sections:

Carter, G., P. Restrepo, J. Hameedi, P. Ortner, C. Sellinger, J. Stein, and T. Beechie,
2006. Freshwater Issues. pp. 29-39. In: S.A. Murawski and G.C. Matlock (editors).
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA’s Mission in the Year 2020.
U.S. Dep. Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-74, 97 p.

A copy of the report may be obtained from:

National Marine Fisheries Service
Office of Science and Technology
1315 East-West Highway, 12th Floor
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

or

National Ocean Service
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Room 8110
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Or Online at:

http://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/tm/
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
Overview:                          Commission on Ocean Policy’s report
 Ecosystem Science Capabilities              (USCOP, 2004), and the
                                             Administration’s response to that report
 Required to Support NOAA’s
                                             in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan (CEQ,
   Mission in the Year 2020                  2004).

                                             Acting through its Ecosystem Goal
The mission of the National Oceanic and      Team (http://.ecosystems.noaa.gov),
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is         NOAA has begun to better integrate the
to understand and predict changes in the     ecological research, observing, and
Earth’s environment and conserve and         forecasting components undertaken by
manage coastal and marine resources to       its “line offices” (i.e., NOAA Fisheries,
meet our nation’s economic, social and       NOAA National Ocean Service, NOAA
environmental needs (NOAA, 2004). In         Research, NOAA Satellites and
meeting its marine stewardship               Information Service, and NOAA
responsibilities, NOAA seeks to ensure       National Weather Service). NOAA’s
the sustainable use of resources and         five-year research plan (NOAA, 2005b)
balance competing uses of coastal and        emphasizes how the agency will better
marine ecosystems, recognizing both          integrate its current activities, using the
their human and natural components           Goal Team structure as a framework. In
(NOAA, 2004). Authorities for                contrast, its 20-year vision for science
executing these responsibilities come        and research encompasses broad themes
from over 90 separate pieces of Federal      for the agency in meeting its ecosystem
legislation, each with unique                stewardship responsibilities, as “NOAA
requirements and responsibilities. Few       will provide the scientific underpinnings
of these laws explicitly mandate an          for an ecosystem approach to
ecosystem approach to management             management of coastal and ocean
(EAM) or supporting science. However,        resources, so that complex societal
resource managers, the science               choices are informed by comprehensive
community, and increasingly, the public,     and reliable scientific information”
are recognizing that significantly greater   (NOAA, 2005c, p. 6).
connectedness among the scientific
disciplines is needed to support             The agency needs to know what types of
management and stewardship                   science, skills, and products will be
responsibilities (Browman and Stergiou,      necessary to inform emerging ecosystem
2004; 2005). Neither NOAA nor any            management challenges if it is to move
other science agency can meet the            from simply better integrating its current
increasing demand for ecosystem              activities to meeting its strategic 20-year
science products addressing each of its      research vision. This document was
mandates individually. Even if it was        developed to identify a strategic
possible, doing so would not provide the     portfolio of research, monitoring, data
integration necessary to solve the           integration, and decision support
increasingly complex array of                capabilities underpinning more holistic
management issues. This focus on the         approaches to NOAA’s stewardship and
integration of science and management        management of coastal and ocean
responsibilities into an ecosystem view      resources.
is one of the centerpieces of the U.S.
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
For purposes of this discussion                        Ecosystem science supporting these
concerning the scientific support                      characteristics must therefore be
necessary for an EAM, NOAA defines                     integrated on appropriate geographic
an EAM as:                                             scales relevant to the particular problem
                                                       or issue being addressed. Some of these
An ecosystem1 approach to management                   management foci will be local (e.g., a
(EAM) is one that provides a                           bay or estuary), while many others will
comprehensive framework for living                     scale upwards, including a global scale.
resource decision making. In contrast to               All will require greater integration of
individual species or single issue                     ecosystem knowledge across traditional
management, EAM considers a wider                      disciplines that can be easily
range of relevant ecological,                          reassembled at problem-relevant time
environmental, and human factors                       and space scales. Given the wider
bearing on societal choices regarding                  diversity of stakeholder groups that will
resource use.                                          participate in ecosystem-level problem
                                                       solving, new information products -
EAM is differentiated from more                        including those that integrate and
narrowly focused management by a                       simultaneously interpret biological,
number of defining characteristics.                    social, and physical trends - must
EAM is: (1) geographically specified, (2)              emerge. Finally, new management
adaptive in its development over time as               (governance) institutions will also likely
new information becomes available or                   evolve from those currently in existence
as circumstances change, (3) takes into                or yet to be formed, and will require the
account ecosystem knowledge and                        use of natural and social science
uncertainties, (4) considers the fact that             information to inform difficult, but
multiple simultaneous factors may                      necessary, coastal and ocean ecosystem
influence the outcomes of management                   management decisions. One of the
(particularly those external to the                    vexing issues these institutions will face
ecosystem), and (5) strives to balance                 is the divergent value systems held by
diverse societal objectives that result                stakeholder groups (e.g., utilitarian
from resource decision making and                      versus preservation views of marine
allocation. Additionally, because of its               ecosystems). U.S. institutions and
complexity and emphasis on stakeholder                 science support systems must be
involvement, the process of                            prepared to evaluate management from
implementing EAM needs to be (6)                       these diverse perspectives.
incremental and (7) collaborative
(Murawski, 2006, pp. 1-2).                             This set of “white papers” is not
                                                       intended to be comprehensive with
1                                                      respect to all of the existing and
 An ecosystem is a geographically specified
system of organisms (including humans), the            emerging issues, but rather, focuses on a
environment2, and the processes that control its       few priority topics that researchers and
dynamics.                                              coastal managers have identified as
2
                                                       multidisciplinary themes of EAM
 The environment is the biological, chemical,          requiring NOAA’s attention. These
physical, and social conditions that surround
organisms. When appropriate, the term                  themes were assigned to NOAA senior
environment should be qualified as biological,         scientists and research managers who are
chemical, and/or social.

                                                   2
Ecosystem Science Capabilities Required to Support NOAA's Mission in the Year 2020
at the forefront of these issues, and who       with other sectors and issues. In fact,
represent a cross-section of the various        there is a growing demand from these
line offices within the agency                  current institutions for ecosystem-level
collaborating on them. This examination         information and advice for which
of pivotal issues will help NOAA, its           science is not yet fully equipped to
partners, and its stakeholders more fully       provide (Rice, 2005). Thus, there is an
implement an EAM. It will contribute to         urgent need to address these issues and
how NOAA organizes itself and                   priorities.
manages its activities, and how it will
interact with other Federal, state, and         Finally, this exercise in futurism is not
local management organizations. Most            the first, and will not be the last, to
importantly, these papers will inform           consider emerging marine science and
long-term research planning activities of       policy “mega-trends.” In 1984, the
the agency.                                     Intergovernmental Oceanographic
                                                Commission posited a vision of
The six white papers consider the               emerging themes by the year 2000 (IOC,
following ecosystem-related themes:             1984). Chief among their predictions
                                                were the increased importance of
                                     Page       interdisciplinary approaches to climate
1. Ecosystem Responses to                       research and ecosystem studies (Field et
Climate Variability………………… 6                    al., 2005). More recently, in visioning
                                                ocean science for 2020, Field et al.
2. Management of Living Marine                  (2005) provide a number of tantalizing
Resources in an Ecosystem                       predictions for science and management
Context………………………..…… 15                         challenges for which science must
                                                prepare, including: (1) the increased
3. Freshwater Issues…………….… 29                  reliance on more capable remote
                                                sensing, (2) the importance of the
4. Marine Zoning and Coastal Zone               information revolution to ocean science,
Management……………………….. 40                        (3) the “globalization” of modeling
                                                capacity, (4) discovering functional
5. Ecological Forecasting…………. 52               biodiversity (molecular ecology), (5)
                                                increased emphasis on global climate
6. Science Requirements to Identify             change, (6) waste disposal in the oceans,
and Balance Societal Objectives…... 64          (6) understanding of the deep sea floor
                                                biosphere, (8) the emerging importance
Of course, better science capabilities          of the land-sea interface and the coasts,
alone will not be sufficient to meet the        (9) the growth of interdisciplinary
increasing challenges in managing the           sciences, (10) greater involvement of
Nation’s coastal and ocean ecosystems.          society in managing the ocean’s limited
However, ocean governance systems               resources, (11) transitioning to
have not been static. Even within               sustainable fisheries, and (12) capacity
traditional use sectors (e.g., fisheries,       building in marine science in both the
energy exploration and recovery), there         developing and developed world. This
is an evolution towards broadening              volume provides a NOAA-centric view
mandates to consider their interactions         of important challenges for ecosystem

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management and the role that its science       The authors acknowledge and appreciate
can play in informing and helping to           the efforts of the numerous individuals
create a sustainable future for our            who reviewed these white papers, and
Nation’s ocean and coastal ecosystems.         particularly those of Ms. Lynn Dancy.

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Acronyms                        HAB harmful algal bloom
                                             IOOS Integrated Ocean Observing
ABC acceptable biological catch                    System
AIS aquatic invasive species                 LMR living marine resource
ARO NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska                   MERHAB NOAA’s Monitoring and
       Regional Office                             Event Response for Harmful
Bmsy stock biomass necessary to                    Algal Blooms Program
       support MSY                           MPA marine protected area
CCSP U.S. Climate Change Science             MSE management strategy evaluation
       Program                               MSFCMA Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
CFM coastal flooding model                              Conservation and
CHPS Community Hydrologic                               Management Act
       Prediction System                     MSY maximum sustainable yield
CZM coastal zone management                  NASA National Aeronautics and Space
EAM ecosystem approach to                          Administration
       management                            NEXRAD Next Generation Radar
ECOHAB NOAA’s Ecology and                    NOAA National Oceanic and
       Oceanography of Harmful Algal                Atmospheric Administration
       Blooms Program                        NGO non-governmental organization
EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone                  NMSP NOAA’s National Marine
EFH essential fish habitat                         Sanctuary Program
ENSO El Niño-Southern Oscillation            NPCREP North Pacific Climate
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection                     Regimes and Ecosystem
       Agency                                         Productivity
ESA Endangered Species Act                   NPFMC North Pacific Fishery
ESU evolutionary significant unit                     Management Council
FAO Food and Agriculture                     OFL overfishing level
       Organization of the United            PBA NOAA program baseline
       Nations                                   assessment
Flim threshold maximum fishing               PPBES NOAA’s Program Planning
       mortality limit                              Budgeting and Execution
Fmsy fishing mortality rate associated              System
       with MSY                              SAFE Stock Assessment and Fishery
FMP fishery management plan                        Evaluation
FY     fiscal year                           SIMOR Subcommittee on Integrated
GEOSS Global Earth Observing System                  Management of Ocean
       of Systems                                    Resources
GIS geographical information system          TAC total allowable catch
GLOBEC U.S. Global Ocean
Ecosystems Dynamics

                                         5
White Paper #1                        consequence of global warming and
                                                 subsidence, sea levels continue to rise
                                                 and the rate of rise is projected to
       Ecosystem Responses
                                                 accelerate. Precipitation and resulting
       to Climate Variability                    rates of runoff are predicted to change
                                                 significantly over the next century.
                                                 These variations and changes in
Authors:                                         environmental conditions have profound
Kenric Osgood, NOAA Fisheries,                   implications for ecosystems and the
Office of Science and Technology                 human activities that are dependent on
Ned Cyr, NOAA Fisheries, Office of               them by changing the distributions and
Science and Technology                           productivity of living resources.
Tom O’Connor, NOAA National
Ocean Service, National Centers for              Climate changes potentially have large
Coastal Ocean Science                            impacts on living marine resource
Jeff Polovina, NOAA Fisheries, Pacific           (LMR) populations including the Great
Islands Science Center                           Lakes (McGinn, 2002). Along the U.S.
David Schwab, NOAA Research, Great               west coast, El Niño events cause shifts in
Lakes Environmental Research                     population distributions of many marine
Laboratory                                       species and greatly impact ocean
Phyllis Stabeno, NOAA Research,                  productivity (Pearcy and Schoener,
Pacific Marine Environmental                     1987), while decadal scale climate shifts
Laboratory                                       impact the structure and productivity of
                                                 North Pacific and Bering Sea
                                                 ecosystems (Hollowed and Wooster,
I. Description of the Issue                      1992; Hare and Mantua, 2000; Peterson
                                                 and Schwing, 2003). Shifts such as the
Background                                       change from shrimp to groundfish
                                                 dominance in the Gulf of Alaska in the
Variations in the world’s climate have           late 1970s reflect decadal changes in
significant implications for the                 ocean climate (Anderson and Piatt,
productivity and structure of marine and         1999), as do large shifts in Pacific
coastal (including Great Lakes)                  salmon production (Mantua et al., 1997).
ecosystems ranging from the tropics to           The Bering Sea is undergoing a
the poles. Climate-driven variability of         northward biogeographical shift in
environmental conditions is manifest on          response to changing temperature and
many time and space scales, including            atmospheric forcing (Overland and
year-to-year variation, multi-year (e.g.,        Stabeno, 2004; Grebmeier et al., 2006),
El Niño-Southern Oscillation [ENSO]),            and in the North Atlantic many marine
and decadal scales (e.g., Pacific Decadal        fish species have been observed to shift
Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation,         their distributions poleward in response
and Arctic Oscillation). In addition to          to increases in water temperature
this shorter-term variability, the Earth’s       (Murawski, 1993; Parker and Dixon,
climate system has demonstrably                  1998; Perry et al., 2005). Long-term
warmed on both global and regional               declines in krill stocks have been
scales since the pre-industrial era,             observed in the Southern Ocean and
impacting ice extent (IPCC, 2001). As a

                                             6
links between annual krill density and           occurs each summer over the northern
sea-ice cover have been established              Gulf of Mexico shelf may increase in
(Atkinson et al., 2004). Similarly, in the       size and intensity if runoff from the
Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean, reductions          central U.S. increases (Justic et al.,
in sea ice coverage have negative                2003). Rising temperatures have
implications for ice dependent species,          implications for the productivity and
but positive implications for other              viability of coral reef ecosystems as
species that may be able to take                 mass coral bleaching has occurred in
advantage of the changing conditions,            association with episodes of elevated sea
thus having consequences that cascade            temperatures (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999).
through the food webs (ACIA, 2004).              Coral reefs, and other calcifying marine
Changed climate forcing affects                  organisms including important plankton
important physical features in the ocean,        components, are also susceptible to
thereby impacting marine species that            anthropogenic ocean acidification due to
take advantage of these features. For            increasing carbon dioxide (CO2),
example, the Transition Zone                     decreasing their ability to build their
Chlorophyll Front is a sharp boundary in         calcium carbonate (CaCO3) structures
the waters north of the Hawaiian Islands         (Feely et al., 2004; Orr et al., 2005;
between the stratified, low surface              Kleypas et al., 2006).
chlorophyll water and the cooler,
vertically mixed, high surface                   There exists the need for science to
chlorophyll water. This productive               identify how climate variability impacts
feature is used as a migration pathway           ecosystems and how different
by sea turtles and tunas (Polovina et al.,       ecosystems respond to climate forcing,
2001), and its winter location appears           to differentiate the impacts of short-term
important to the survival of monk seal           variability (year-to-year, multi-year)
pups. Climate change will also                   from longer term variability (decadal
influence the thermal regime in the Great        and longer), and to identify the most
Lakes, impacting the growth rate                 cost-effective ways to adapt to the
potential of important fish species              changes or reduce the risk of negative
(Brandt et al., 2002).                           impacts. Without this information,
                                                 society cannot rationally assess the costs
Rising sea level directly impacts coastal        and benefits of policy options to mitigate
ecosystems (Boesch et al., 2000),                the impacts of climate variability or
inundating wetlands and shallow water            adapt human uses to account for the
habitats and increasing, salinity, wave          magnitude and timing of climate-
action, and storm surges. In regions             induced changes.
where coastal development interferes
with the landward migration of coastal
ecosystems as sea level rises, the               NOAA’s Role in Framing Climate-
ecosystems may disappear. Shifts in              Ecosystem Issues
precipitation change the amount, timing,
and contents of freshwater runoff,               The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
thereby impacting coastal and estuarine          Administration (NOAA) has
areas (Boesch et al., 2000). For                 responsibilities to monitor, understand,
example, the large hypoxic zone that             and predict the impacts of global climate

                                             7
change on marine and coastal                     and the living resources contained
ecosystems. Specifically, NOAA has               therein, and to provide the knowledge
responsibilities to:                             and tools needed to incorporate climate
• monitor and model changes in                   variability into the management of living
    coastal production as a consequence          marine and coastal resources. This topic
    of predicted climate changes in the          area entails a wide variety of projects to
    rate and amount of runoff and in the         investigate and provide a predictive
    timing of spring phytoplankton               capability of the impacts of changing
    blooms;                                      climate on coastal and marine
• evaluate and predict climate impacts,          ecosystems. In addition to projects
    including increases in CO2, on coral         focused on what have become known as
    ecosystems;                                  climate regime shifts (e.g., ecosystems
• adapt how it manages marine                    alternating between anomalous warm
    fisheries, marine mammals, and               and cool states (Hollowed and Wooster,
    protected marine species by                  1992)), this topic also includes studies to
    accounting for the impacts of climate        investigate: coastal and marine
    variability and change on marine             ecosystem impacts from any change in
    ecosystems; and                              the physical environment due to
• utilize predictions of climate status          changing climate; the impact of
    to forecast the impact of such change        diminishing ice cover (e.g., impacts
    on coastal ecosystems.                       diminishing sea ice on marine mammals
                                                 and fisheries within the Bering Sea
As an agency, NOAA has the                       ecosystem); and how climate variability
capabilities and legislative mandates to         and change impact the productivity of
exert leadership in conducting this work.        Pacific salmon within their oceanic and
Without NOAA investment, society’s               freshwater habitats.
ability to adapt to changes in coastal and
marine ecosystems will be severely               Coastal response to sea-level rise:
limited.                                         To plan development that will protect
                                                 coastal property and ecosystems, state
To address these needs, NOAA has                 and local governments need accurate and
identified the following high-priority           precise elevation maps showing the
topic areas:                                     extent of coastal inundation due to
                                                 projected sea level rise. Projects within
Climate regimes and ecosystem                    this topic will collect topographic and
productivity:                                    bathymetric data to create detailed
Profound shifts in biological                    elevation maps which, along with
productivity, species distributions, and         hydrographic modeling, comprise
ecosystem structure are often ecological         precise coastal flooding models (CFMs).
responses to climate variability, and are        While CFMs are required to protect
of great consequence to fishery-                 human-made infrastructure, projects
dependent communities and the                    under this topic also provide for
commercial fishing industry. Projects            protecting ecosystems by modeling the
within this topic aim to predict the             responses of the various types of
probable consequences of climate                 wetlands and shallow water habitats to
change on coastal and marine systems

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increases in water depth, salinity, waves,       shallow and deep water corals and
and storm surges.                                calcifying plankton, will decrease as
                                                 CO2 concentrations continue to rise.
Nutrient-climate interactions:                   Many of these organisms are of direct
Climate change models predict major              economic importance to human
shifts in the amount of precipitation            populations, while the others are
experienced by various regions of the            important in the marine food web.
United States. In addition, the coastal          Projects within this topic will gain a
glaciers of Alaska are melting. Such             better understanding of how ocean
changes may lead to increased runoff of          biology and chemistry will respond to
freshwater and its nutrients into coastal        higher CO2 and concomitant lower pH
and estuarine areas, making them more            conditions so that predictive models of
susceptible to eutrophication. For               these processes and their impacts on
marine systems, this will also enhance           marine ecosystems can be developed.
stratification, further increasing the
susceptibility to eutrophication. These
projects will monitor and model changes          Influences External to NOAA that will
in coastal eutrophication as a                   Drive Future Needs
consequence of predicted climate
changes in the rate and amount of runoff.        It is increasingly apparent that coastal
                                                 and marine ecosystems are not in a
Coral bleaching:                                 steady state and that resource managers
Bleaching occurs when corals are                 must be prepared to adapt to changing
stressed by a synergistic combination of         conditions. In addition to the
stressors, including increases in sea            importance of annual to decadal scale
surface temperature. These projects will         climate variability to ecosystems, global
improve the current network of                   climate change is predicted to have
observational sensors and provide an             increasingly significant effects over the
integrated approach capable of                   next fifteen years. Such change will
forecasting the time, place, and potential       impact both the mean state of the
severity of coral bleaching events.              environment and its variability. By not
Successful forecasting of coral bleaching        accounting for climate variability and
events will allow managers and                   change in its information exchange with
stakeholders to prepare for, forestall,          resource managers, NOAA risks
and/or minimize the devastating effects          providing management advice that does
of bleaching on coastal ecosystems and           not match evolving environmental
resource loss resulting from bleaching           conditions and thereby risks
events.                                          mismanagement of coastal and marine
                                                 ecosystems. As any large-scale climatic
Decalcification:                                 change will result in both winners (i.e.,
The carbonate equilibrium of the oceans          species who do better in a new climate
is shifting in response to increasing            regime) and losers (i.e., species who do
atmospheric CO2 concentrations. There            not thrive under such change), failure to
is also mounting evidence that                   consider climate in management
calcification rates of several major             decisions can and will result in over- or
groups of marine calcifiers, including           under-harvesting of living resources and

                                             9
poor management of non-harvested                 consequences of climate variability and
species. This will clearly impact not            change on marine ecosystems. Its
only the ecosystems, but also the                strategy is to develop the ability to
individuals and communities that are             predict the consequences of climate
dependent upon coastal and marine                change on ecosystems by monitoring
resources. Long-range planning will be           changes in coastal and marine
improved if a predictive capability for          ecosystems, conducting research on
climate impacts on ecosystems is                 climate-ecosystem linkages, and
developed. Accounting for climate                incorporating climate information into
variability and change is an important           predictive physical-biological indicators
component of implementing an                     and models.
ecosystem approach to marine resource
management as called for in the U.S.             NOAA’s Climate and Ecosystems
Ocean Action Plan (CEQ, 2004). In the            Program was initiated in fiscal year (FY)
coming decades, as anthropogenic                 2004 with one project. The North
stressors continue to impact coastal and         Pacific Climate Regimes and Ecosystem
marine ecosystems through coastal                Productivity (NPCREP) project is
development and resource exploitation,           developing an understanding of how
climate impacts are likely to become             climate fluctuations and change affect
increasingly important. Through studies          the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of
to monitor, understand, and predict the          Alaska ecosystems. NPCREP is
impacts of global climate change on              utilizing a combination of retrospective,
marine and coastal ecosystems, NOAA              monitoring, process, and modeling
will address needs identified in the U.S.        studies to advance the understanding of
Climate Change Science Program                   climate impacts on the fisheries in the
(CCSP) Strategic Plan (U.S. Climate              region, thereby generating the necessary
Change Science Program, 2003).                   foundation for understanding climate-
                                                 ecosystem relationships. Through the
                                                 increased understanding being obtained,
II. Science Capabilities Necessary to            NPCREP is developing indicators of
Support Future Decision-Making                   climate impacts and models to predict
                                                 the probable consequences of climate
Present capabilities                             change on the eastern Bering Sea and
                                                 Gulf of Alaska ecosystems. These
NOAA has made large investments                  products are given to fisheries managers
towards understanding the physical               at the North Pacific Fishery
climate system and describing the                Management Council (NPFMC) so that
mechanisms that govern climate                   climate variability and change can be
variability and change. However, very            incorporated into management decisions
little work has been done to understand          affecting the LMRs in these regions.
the impacts of climate variability or the
implications of future climate change on         In addition to its Climate and
coastal and marine ecosystems. For this          Ecosystems Program, NOAA is involved
reason, NOAA initiated a Climate and             in a number of projects related to the
Ecosystems Program with the objective            impacts of climate on marine
of understanding and predicting the              ecosystems:

                                            10
•   NOAA has helped support projects                    of the most appropriate products and
    in the Georges Bank/Northwest                       models.
    Atlantic Region and the Northeast               •   There is no ongoing NOAA project
    Pacific (with components in the                     addressing the effect of climate
    California Current and the Coastal                  change on coastal eutrophication or
    Gulf of Alaska) that are coordinated                modeling activity directly predicting
    by the U.S. Global Ocean                            the locations and intensity of
    Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC), a                     climate-driven coastal
    research program addressing how                     eutrophication. However, existing
    global climate change may affect the                monitoring programs making in situ-
    abundance and production of marine                  or satellite-based measurements of
    animals.                                            water quality and chlorophyll
•   Since 2004, NOAA has been                           concentrations are beginning to
    creating CFMs with a precision of 20                create the long-term database
    cm in order to map coastal                          required to document such responses
    inundation under the existing and                   to climate change.
    projected rate of sea level rise.
    Included is an ecological component
    to model changes in coastal habitats            New or Enhanced Capabilities that will
    as a function of rates of sea level rise        be Required
    and landscape characteristics. These
    models are designed for local                   Enabling the incorporation of climate
    managers to accommodate sea level               impacts into management plans, by
    rise and its ecological consequences            predicting the probable consequences of
    into coastal development plans.                 climate variability and change on coastal
•   NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch Program                 and marine ecosystems and delivering
    has developed a variety of satellite-           the knowledge and predictive tools to
    and in situ-based products that                 managers, is essential. To support this
    monitor the environmental                       goal, NOAA needs to: 1) expand its
    conditions of coral reef ecosystems,            capability to develop biophysical
    and is linking ecosystem models                 indicators and models so coastal and
    with current and past climate data to           marine resource management can adapt
    enable understanding of the                     to predicted climate-induced changes in
    relationship between climate                    fishery, coastal, and coral reef resources;
    parameters and coral ecosystem                  2) expand its capability to monitor
    response.                                       changes in coastal and marine
•   NOAA scientists are incorporating               ecosystems through a network of in situ
    indices of environmental variation              and remote observing systems; and 3)
    into assessments of the status of               gain an understanding of the
    living resource populations. Some of            mechanisms and rates that control
    these investigations are providing              ecosystem response to climate variability
    useful information to managers;                 and change. Predictive biophysical
    however, these efforts should be                indicators and models will allow for the
    better connected and coordinated to             proactive management of living
    ensure information exchange and use             resources, the most efficient manner in
                                                    which to manage resources. Monitoring

                                               11
changes in ecosystems will allow for            ground truth the output from these
reactive management and provide data            models and develop approaches to
essential for the development of                directly or indirectly extend them to
indicators and models. Understanding            address higher trophic level dynamics.
the mechanisms and rates that control           The development of spatially resolved
ecosystem productivity and energy flux          models to predict and assess the
is critical for the development of              implications of climate variability and
predictive indicators and models.               change on ecosystems is crucial for
                                                planning adaptation strategies. These
NOAA requires an integrated climate-            predictive models will provide a
ecosystem observing system to provide           framework within which mitigation or
climate variability data as well as             adaptation strategies and policy options
synoptic ecosystem structure and                can be explored.
productivity information. Such input
parameters would be used to document            Science and Research needed to
ecosystem responses to climate changes,         Support these Capabilities
to develop a better understanding of
climate effects on ecosystems, and to           There is sufficient technology to achieve
develop more timely biophysical                 a better understanding and more accurate
indicators and models that support              and precise predictive capability of
management and policy actions.                  ecosystem responses to climate
Additional days-at-sea aboard next-             variability and change. While new
generation oceanographic and fisheries          observation technologies and advances
survey vessels are required to make the         in modeling techniques would accelerate
critically needed observations (via             the rate of achievement, the fundamental
deployment of moorings and satellite-           need for a predictive ability to be
tracked drifters, as well as surveys of         achieved is advancement in the
hydrography, fish stocks, protected             conceptual understanding of the
resources, and plankton) and to conduct         mechanisms through which climate
at-sea research to understand the               impacts ecosystems. This requires
processes and mechanisms of climate             process-based research focused on
impacts on ecosystems.                          improving the understanding of the
                                                linkages between climate forcing and
Ocean models will be important tools to         ecosystem responses at various time and
investigate and describe physical and           space scales. This understanding is
biological responses resulting from             essential to enable the development and
climate variability. Currently both             testing of indicators of climate impacts
watershed-scale and regional ocean              on ecosystems as well as models to
models are being used as research tools         predict the probable consequences of
to describe ocean responses resulting           climate variability and change on
from recent climate variability. Some of        particular regions. Without the
these ocean-atmosphere coupled models           knowledge of the mechanisms linking
also include a lower trophic level              ecosystem responses to climate,
component to describe spatial and               scientists and managers will be forced to
temporal aspects of plankton dynamics.          rely on correlations between climate
A priority of future research will be to        forcing and ecosystem responses. Often,

                                           12
these correlations break down over time           Observing System (IOOS) through the
because there is no mechanistic link              Alaska Ocean Observing System and the
among the parameters. They will almost            Northwest Association of Networked
certainly break down under changed                Ocean Observing Systems, and
climate forcing, since the linkages               programs supported by other agencies
between the critical mechanisms that              and non-governmental organizations
impact productivity will likely change.           (NGOs) (e.g., programs supported by the
                                                  National Science Foundation, the North
                                                  Pacific Research Board, and the Exxon
III. Partnerships Necessary to                    Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council).
Effectively Address the Emerging                  NOAA’s work on developing CFMs for
Issues                                            a portion of the North Carolina coast -
                                                  work that could evolve into a national
To effectively address the impacts of             effort - requires the active participation
climate on marine ecosystems, NOAA                of scientists with local knowledge and
must partner with other Federal                   state support in obtaining precise
agencies, as well as state and local              topography. NOAA’s monitoring of
agencies, to leverage their expertise and         coastal eutrophication within the
resources. Coordination of programs at            National Estuarine Research Reserves is
the Federal level is conducted through            done in partnership with states.
the Ecosystem Interagency Working
Group of the U.S. CCSP. NOAA
utilizes knowledge gained on ecosystem            IV. Benefits to NOAA, Constituents,
responses to climate variability within           and Society from this Effort
the U.S. and from around the world by
academia, government agencies and                 There are significant benefits to be
programs, and other entities. NOAA                derived from better understanding and
scientists, along with their partners from        forecasting of ecosystem responses to
academia and private industry who are             climate variability. Projects within this
supported by research grants, are                 topic have a high potential to positively
conducting the single existing project            impact management of these ecosystems
within NOAA’s Climate and Ecosystems              and have a wide range of additional
Program. A significant portion of the             benefits. For instance, they would
funding for all proposed Climate and              enable NOAA to address the urgent and
Ecosystems projects would support                 continuing needs of living resource
academic researchers through grants in            managers and move NOAA toward its
order to enhance collaborations and               stated goal of ecosystem-based
provide necessary scientific expertise.           management. NOAA would be able to
In addition, due to the scope of the              observe, understand, and predict
information needed to address the                 ecological effects of climate variability
questions of the program, a wide range            and change on major coastal and marine
of linkages and partnerships with other           ecosystems of the United States. Users
programs are necessary. For example,              would be provided the information
NPCREP, the Climate and Ecosystems                needed for decisions about responses of
Program project, is linked with other             LMRs and coastal zones to climate-
NOAA projects, the Integrated Ocean               induced perturbations. Consideration of

                                             13
the potential impacts of climate                   Managers of coral reef resources would
variability on ecosystems and coastal              benefit from predictions of climate
zones would become an explicit                     impacts on coral reefs by allowing them
component of LMR and coastal zone                  to quantify the risk of different reefs to
management (CZM) plans.                            climate impacts, identify regions to
                                                   maximize conservation, and reduce other
Fisheries managers would be able to                stressors on reefs during predicted times
more accurately predict the optimum                of increased climate induced stress.
yield for fishery stocks, thereby                  These predictions will also help
minimizing the amount of unrealized                scientists better understand the cold
harvest or overharvesting of species.              water corals that are found within U.S.
They could use the predictive                      waters.
information to modify fishing effort,
timing, or location for particular species;        Climate variability and change have
change the gear type used; or change               significant implications for the
which species are targeted for a region.           distribution and abundance of species
The knowledge and predictive tools                 and for the productivity and functioning
generated by these investigations would            of ecosystems as climate sets the
be of great value to the management of             boundaries within which species are
marine mammals and other protected                 adapted. As species are excluded from
species, ensuring that potential direct            presently inhabited geographic regions
and indirect climate impacts on their              due to changed climate, some may
populations are considered. This                   disappear completely while others may
information would also help fishers with           shift their geographic distributions if
their fishing strategies and their                 there is sufficient time and habitat. In
equipment investment planning, thus                regions where major species shifts occur,
benefiting fishery-dependent human                 the newly structured ecosystems may be
communities.                                       more or less productive than the present
                                                   ones, but management policies adapted
Coastal managers would benefit from                for the present ecosystem will not apply
the development of precise maps of                 in the changed ecosystem. Changes in
predicted coastal inundation due to                these ecosystems and their management
climate-induced sea level rise, models of          will have a great impact on human
ecosystem responses to increased water             communities and sectors dependent upon
depth and salinity, and models of                  susceptible LMRs.
changes in coastal eutrophication as a
consequence of climate variability. With
these models, coastal managers can plan
development that will have minimal
impact on coastal ecosystems, taking
into account climate impacts.

                                              14
White Paper #2                         recognition that fishing is but one
                                                 competing use of ecosystems that
                                                 produces a broad set of ecological and
         Management of
                                                 societal benefits. But the benefits are
    Living Marine Resources                      not achieved without costs; thus, there is
    in an Ecosystem Context                      a need to manage LMRs in an ecosystem
                                                 context. The critical need for a more
                                                 holistic approach to managing the use of
Authors:                                         LMRs has been well articulated in a
Doug DeMaster, NOAA Fisheries,                   number of recent publications, including
Alaska Fisheries Science Center                  the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
Mike Fogarty, NOAA Fisheries,                    report (USCOP, 2004), U.S. Ocean
Northeast Fisheries Science Center               Action Plan (CEQ, 2004), Pew Oceans
Doran Mason, NOAA Research, Great                Commission report (2003), Rappoport
Lakes Environmental Research                     (1998), report to Congress by the
Laboratory                                       Ecosystem Principles Advisory Panel
Gary Matlock, NOAA National Ocean                (1999), report by the United Nations’
Service, National Centers for Coastal            Food and Agriculture Organization
Ocean Science                                    (FAO, 2003), a series of essays
Anne Hollowed, NOAA Fisheries,                   published by the Marine Ecology
Alaska Fisheries Science Center                  Progress Series (Browman and Stergiou,
                                                 2004), and a series of National Research
I. Description of the Issue                      Council (NRC) publications (1994,
                                                 1999b, 1999c, 2001, 2002), as well as
One of the four goals articulated in             numerous references contained therein.
NOAA’s Strategic Plan is to “protect,
restore and manage coastal and ocean
resources through an ecosystem                   The NOAA Perspective on
approach” (NOAA, 2004). This goal                Management of LMRs
flows from the mandates and direction of
such Federal laws, executive orders,             There are more than 90 Congressional
courts, and international treaties as the        laws, treaty obligations, executive
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and                     orders, regional agreements, NOAA-
Conservation Management Act                      specific policies, memoranda of
(MSFCMA), Endangered Species Act                 understanding with other Federal
(ESA), National Environmental Policy             agencies, and court orders that drive the
Act (NEPA), Marine Mammal                        requirements of NOAA’s Ecosystem
Protection Act, Coral Reef Conservation          Mission Goal (NOAA, 2005c). Over the
Act, Coastal Zone Management Act,                last 20 years, NOAA has worked to
National Marine Sanctuaries Act,                 establish the scientific underpinning for
International Commission for the                 an ecosystem approach to management
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, and              (EAM) of coastal and ocean LMRs, so
Inter-American Tropical Tuna                     that complex societal choices are
Commission. These directives reflect             informed by comprehensive and reliable
society’s desire for policies and                scientific information (DeMaster and
institutions to manage the environment.          Sandifer, 2004; NOAA, 2005b). The
When combined, they reflect the

                                            15
types of products and services NOAA               many national and international
intends to provide to constituents and            organizations. By necessity, it requires
agency managers include: (1) forecasts            discourse between researchers and
and mitigation strategies related to              managers, and in the future, NOAA will
harmful algal blooms (HABs), invasive             need to increasingly incorporate
species, and air and water quality; (2)           constituent input into this discourse.
ecological assessments and predictions            The key assumption under this approach
of impacts from climate change on ocean           is that management tools that do not
productivity (e.g., coral bleaching and           perform well in computer simulations
loss of sea ice in the Bering Sea; see            are very likely to fail in the real world.
White Paper #1); (3) decision support             That doesn’t mean that management
tools for adaptive, ecosystem-based               tools that perform well will necessarily
management of fisheries, other marine             produce satisfactory results in the real
resources, and coastal development; (4)           world, but they are certainly more likely
improved assessments of sea level                 to be successful than non-tested
change on coastal resources and                   management approaches. One form of
ecosystems; (5) better integration of             decision support tools used to evaluate
observing system data for use by                  the impacts of harvest policy is a
managers responsible for the health of            management strategy evaluation (MSE).
coastal ecosystems; and (6) fishery               NEPA requires that agencies conduct
productivity forecasts incorporating the          this type of review to provide public
effects of climate change.                        disclosure of potential impacts of
                                                  management actions. The MSE is an
For each of these products (e.g.,                 attempt to provide quantitative, rather
forecasts, assessments, decision support          than qualitative, information for
tools), it will be necessary to take              decision-makers. Thus, NOAA
account or otherwise incorporate                  scientists play a crucial role in the
uncertainty associated with parameter             process by providing the analysis tools
estimation and process error (e.g.,               and forecasts that will facilitate
uncertainty of how a change in one                collaborations among managers,
component of an ecosystem influences              researchers, and constituents to
the others). This is typically done by            encourage the development of policies
evaluating the performance of competing           with full knowledge of the necessary
approaches using output from computer             tradeoffs between the likelihood of
simulations that are run under a wide             sustainable use of a LMR, its
range of scenarios (FAO, 2003). Field             community, or its ecosystem and the
data collected in support of these models         likelihood of acceptable social or
are often not collected from a wide               economic performance.
variety of system states, so there must be
inference regarding underlying processes          A Common Lexicon for Ecosystem
dictating changes (e.g., prey switching           Concepts
by predators). The evaluation of
performance must be closely coordinated           As discussed in the overview, NOAA
with resource managers and policy                 has adopted a common lexicon to
makers. Such an approach has become               promote a shared understanding and
one of the basic tenets of an EAM by

                                             16
usage of ecosystem concepts (NOAA,                 prerequisite to the success of this
2004; FAO, 2003):                                  management approach. An a priori
                                                   assessment of possible ecosystem states
   An ecosystem is a geographically                must become the foundation for the
   specified system of organisms                   selection of preferred management
   (including humans), the                         actions.
   environment, and the processes that
   control its dynamics.                           Progress towards implementing an EAM
                                                   for LMRs can occur in stages along a
   The environment is the biological,              continuum. For example, management
   chemical, physical, and social                  under an ecosystem approach can be
   conditions that surround organisms.             categorized into at least three levels. The
   When appropriate, the term                      first level is single species management
   environment should be qualified as              of targeted resources, with issues of
   biological, chemical, physical, and/or          protected species, non-target species,
   social.                                         habitat, and species interactions
                                                   incorporated as important
   An EAM is management that is                    considerations. The second level is a
   adaptive, geographically specified,             multi-species aggregate and system level
   takes account of ecosystem                      approach. This management level
   knowledge and uncertainties,                    incorporates important ecological and
   considers multiple external                     environmental factors, such as trophic
   influences, and strives to balance              structure, carrying capacity, climate
   diverse social objectives.                      anomalies or regime shift influences, on
                                                   the condition of the ecosystem. The third
   A fishery can refer to the sum of all           level is a comprehensive, multiple sector
   fishing activities on a given resource.         approach that captures activities and
   It may also refer to the activities of a        values associated with all external
   single type or style of fishing on a            influences (i.e., fishing and non-fishing
   particular resource. The term is used           sectors) impacting the condition and
   in both senses.                                 sustainability of ecosystems. The focus
                                                   is not only on LMR conservation or
The phrase “ecosystem approach to                  extraction, but also on uses of and
management” (instead of “ecosystem                 impacts on marine ecosystems by
management”) is used throughout the                transportation, military, oil and gas
document in deference to the preferred             sectors, etc.
international convention. An EAM is
incremental, as neither the scientific nor         Background
fiscal underpinnings are usually
available to quickly and fully implement           A number of recent publications provide
ecosystem approaches in every location.            perspectives and approaches on how
LMR management changes ecosystems                  LMRs will be managed in an ecosystem
and their components. Specifying goals             context over the next fifteen years:
for the condition of LMRs, the
ecosystem of which they are a part, and            1. Report to Congress by the Ecosystem
the human enterprise of fishing is a               Principles Advisory Panel (1999, p. 3):

                                              17
“The benefits of adopting ecosystem-             ecosystem services requires a process
based fishery management and research            that engages scientists and decision-
are more sustainable fisheries and               makers. Interdisciplinary linkages are
marine ecosystems, as well as more               necessary because of the climate and
economically-healthy coastal                     societal controls on ecosystems, the
communities. We have identified actions          feedbacks involving social change, and
required to realize these benefits. We           the decision –making relevance of
urge the Secretary and Congress to               forecasts.”
make those resources available.” (Note:
the eight ecosystem principals                   4. Hilborn (in Browman and Stergiou
recommended by the Panel are presented           [2004, pp. 275-276]):
in Appendix A).                                  “No one questions that the majority of
                                                 the world’s fisheries are heavily used,
2. Murawski (2000, p. 649):                      many are overfished, some have
“Ecosystem considerations may be                 collapsed, and good biological and
incorporated into fisheries management           economic management suggests
by modifying existing overfishing                substantial reductions in fishing
paradigms or by developing new                   pressure are needed for sustainable
approaches to account for ecosystem              management.”; “I, and others (Garcia et
structure and function in relation to            al. 2003, Sissenwine & Mace 2003),
harvesting. Although existing concepts           believe that we need a form of ecosystem
of overfishing have a strong theoretical         management that emphasizes the
basis for evaluating policy choices and          interaction between fish, fishermen and
much practical use, they do not provide          government regulators and concentrates
direct guidance on issues such as                on incentives and participation with user
biodiversity, serial depletion, habitat          groups. This difference can be
degradation, and changes in the food             considered as a choice between a
web caused by fishing.” and “Ecosystem           participatory approach with incentives
considerations do not need to substitute         as a ‘carrot’, and a centralized
for existing overfishing concepts.               government using regulations as a
Instead, they should be used to evaluate         ‘stick’.”; and “To argue that we need
and modify primary management                    more data intensive management and
guidance for important fisheries and             more regulation by central governments
species.”                                        in the fisheries of the world that have
                                                 little data and little regulation is
3. Clark et al. (2001, p. 657):                  untenable.”
“Planning and decision-making can be
improved by access to reliable forecasts         5. Pew Oceans Commission (2003):
of ecosystem state, ecosystem services,          The Pew Oceans Commission identified
and natural capital. Availability of new         governance structure as one key issue in
data sets, together with progress in             developing more robust U.S. fisheries
computation and statistics, will increase        management.
our ability to forecast ecosystem change.
An agenda that would lead toward a               6. Jennings (in Browman and Stergiou
capacity to produce, evaluate, and               [2004, p. 279]):
communicate forecasts of critical                “EAF [Ecosystem Approaches to

                                            18
Fisheries] is part of the ecosystem               not routinely evaluated in current
approach. The broad purpose of the                species-by-species or fishery-based
EAF is to plan, develop and manage                management programs.”; “Controlling
fisheries in a manner that addresses the          fishing mortality, and manipulating its
multiple needs and desires of societies,          application on particular size or age
without jeopardizing the options for              classes, are the keys to achieving the
future generations to benefit from the            typical objectives of sustainability, high
full range of goods and services                  yield, and efficiency. Often, this is done
(including, of course, non fisheries              by setting a Total Allowable Catch
benefits) provided by marine                      (TAC) based on the relationship between
ecosystems.”                                      catch and fishing mortality. Another
                                                  approach is to limit fishing effort (days
7. Mace (in Browman and Stergiou                  at sea or some other effort metric) since
[2004, p. 291]):                                  fishing mortality is proportional to
“The lack of adequate monitoring of               effort. Controlling fishing mortality
marine species, habitats and                      through either a TAC or limit on fishing
oceanographic factors is perhaps the              effort requires considerable scientific
most difficult problem of all to address,         information about the fishery and
primarily because of the prohibitive              resource species.”; and “Moving from
costs associated with conducting surveys          ’intelligent tinkering’ to a more direct
of marine resources and the high costs            focus on ecosystem properties and
of simply monitoring catches in many              outcomes will necessarily involve closer
countries. Realistic cost-benefit analyses        ties between science and management.”
may well indicate that the costs of
comprehensive scientific research far             9. U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy
exceed both short- and long-term                  (2004, p. 411):
potential economic benefits to the fishing        “The many potentially beneficial uses of
industry. As a result, while a few                ocean and coastal resources should be
countries may be improving their                  acknowledged and managed in a way
monitoring capabilities (e.g. the United          that balances competing uses while
States), others are losing funds for              preserving and protecting the overall
research and monitoring. Recent                   integrity of the ocean and coastal
progress includes several ambitious               environments.”; and “Downward trends
programs under the auspices of the                in marine biodiversity should be
Global Ocean Observing System                     reversed where they exist, with a desired
(GOOS), Global Ocean Ecosystem                    end of maintaining or recovering natural
Dynamic Programs (GLOBEC), and the                levels of biological diversity and
Census of Marine Life (CML).”                     ecosystem services.”

8. Sissenwine and Murawski (in                    10. Pikitch et al. (2004, p. 347):
Browman and Stergiou [2004, pp. 292-              “Protecting  essential habitat for fish and
295]):                                            other important ecosystem components
“Incorporation of ecosystem-based                 from destructive fishing practices
approaches into fisheries management              increases fish diversity and abundance.
involves accounting for a number of               Thus, ocean zoning, in which type and
important classes of interactions that are        level of allowable human activity are

                                             19
specified spatially and temporally, will         successful for present and future
be a critical element of EBFM. … We              generations.”
believe EBFM can be implemented in
systems that differ in levels of                 Overview of Managing LMRs in an
information and uncertainty through the          Ecosystem Context
judicious use of a precautionary
approach. This means erring on the side          There is increasing recognition of the
of caution in setting management targets         need for management of LMRs in an
and limits when information is sparse or         ecosystem context. Globally, declines in
uncertain. Greater uncertainty would be          fishery resources, alteration of critical
associated with more stringent                   habitats, incidental capture of non-target
management measures. Because                     species, and the effects of climate
ecosystem management involves a wide             variability all point to the need for a
range of objectives, great ecosystem             more holistic approach to understanding
complexity, and a high level of                  human impacts on marine ecosystems
uncertainty in predicting impacts, EBFM          and the interplay of natural and
inevitably requires that some level of           anthropogenic agents of change.
precaution be exercised. Ideally, EBFM           Nonetheless, as noted in the U.S. Ocean
would shift the burden of proof so that          Action Plan (2004, p. 18), progress
fishing would not take place unless it           toward restoring and maintaining healthy
could be shown not to harm key                   recreational and commercial fishing has
components of the ecosystem.                     been made in recent years. For example,
Progression from data-poor to data-rich          since 2000, “17 major stocks have been
EBFM will be facilitated by adaptive             rebuilt and/or removed from the list of
management and greater understanding             overfished stocks (dropping from 56 to
of how ecosystems respond to alternative         39); almost all (over 93 percent) of the
fishing strategies.”                             remaining overfished stocks have
                                                 rebuilding plans in place, the number of
11. Hall and Mainprize (2004, pp. 18-            species subject to overfishing has
19):                                             decreased by 37 (48 percent); and the
“In a fisheries context, perhaps the most        number of stocks with an “unknown”
important discussion of all must be              status level has decreased by 48 (25
about what constitutes a desirable or an         percent).”
undesirable state for an ecosystem and
how one weighs the importance of the             The U.S. Ocean Action Plan strongly
various attributes… Identifying                  endorsed the concept of EAM following
stakeholders, distinguishing between             the report of The U.S. Commission on
fishing and environmental impacts,               Ocean Policy. The Commission noted
initiating comprehensive consultations,          that (2004, p. 411)
finding alternative incentives and
choosing ideal measures for                      “U.S. ocean and coastal resources
management are all critical                      should be managed to reflect the
considerations. Only once this is                relationships among all ecosystem
achieved will we be on the road to               components, including human and
producing healthy fisheries that are             nonhuman species and the environments
ecologically and economically                    in which they live. Applying this

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