Case Studies of Ecosystem-based Management Implementation

Joint AFS & TWS symposium that will explore case studies of ecosystem-based management implementation In the United States, management of natural resources (terrestrial and aquatic) has moved towards ecosystem-based management (EBM), which is a more systematic and integrated approach than conventional (e.g., single sector or single species) approaches. This AFS/TWS joint session invites speakers to explore the variety of programs implementing the principals of EBM. This session is intended to share case studies of EBM programs highlighting the best management practices, the science needed to support the programs, the policies outlining EBM principles, a description of the engagement strategies with stakeholders, measures of progress, and the challenges that programs encounter in the effort to stand up EBM programs.

8:00AM Characterizing and Comparing U.S. Marine Fisheries Ecosystems: Successful Factors in Moving Toward Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management
  Tony Marshak, Jason S. Link
Implementing ecosystem-based fisheries management requires a comprehensive examination of fisheries ecosystem components. Determining the relative prominence among these components is warranted given the many issues facing marine ecosystems. We characterized U.S. marine fishery ecosystems by compiling a multidisciplinary view of coupled socioecological system indicators (SESs) for each ecosystem. From these we ascertained the determinants for successful Living Marine Resource (LMR) management. We found that biological productivity was a major driver determining the level of fisheries biomass, landings, and LMR economic value for a given region, but human interventions can offset this basal production. We observed that good governance could overcome certain ecosystem limitations, and vice-versa, especially as tradeoffs across sectors intensify. We also found that U.S. regions perform well in terms of certain aspects of LMR management, with unique successes and challenges observed in all regions. While attributes differ, transferrable commonalities for successful management across regions include having: stock status identified; stable but attentive management interventions; tracking broader ecosystem considerations; landings/biomass exploitation rates typically <0.1; areal landings typically <1 t km2y-1; ratios of landings/primary production typically <0.001; and explicit consideration of socioeconomic factors in management. Here we emphasize cross-regional comparisons among SES indicators, with focus on temperate and tropical ecosystems.
8:20AM Marine Ecosystem Service Values and Valuation in the U.S.
  Daniel Lew, Kristy Wallmo, Leif Anderson, Denise Johnson, Douglas Lipton, Michelle McGregor, Tammy Murphy
In the U.S., momentum is building for increasing usage of ecosystem-based management (EBM) approaches, which require understanding the multiplicity of ecosystem goods and services and how they affect and are affected by human users. To assess trade-offs involved between competing users and components of an ecosystem, decision-makers often desire information on economic values and preferences users have for ecosystem goods and services. In this presentation, two projects being conducted by the NOAA Fisheries Ecosystem Services Valuation Working Group are discussed. One reviews the stated preference valuation literature estimating U.S. marine ecosystem service values (ESVs) and evaluates it with respect to recent best practices guidelines to identify weaknesses and strengths of the accumulated studies. The review focuses on U.S. studies for ESVs of significance to federal fisheries management, and we identify numerous gaps in the literature and challenges to valuing ESVs and discuss several areas for potential improvement and inquiry. To get perspective from users and generators of ESV information, the second project involves a survey of federal researchers, analysts, and resource managers that collects information about the current usage of ESVs in research and management; perceived information gaps; and prospects and challenges associated with incorporating ESV information in future decision‐making.
8:40AM Regional Research Needs for Coastal Marine Ecosystem-Based Management: Messages from the Practitioners
  Amie West, Michael Roman, Felix Martinez, William Dennison, Thomas Miller, Fredrika Moser, Kenneth Rose, Lisa Wainger
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is increasingly being considered to deal with complex environmental problems. Coastal regions of the US are excellent candidate locations for the effective implementation of EBM. We used a variety of information sources to investigate the status and opportunities for EBM in coastal regions of the US. Our emphasis was on identifying environmental management issues ripe for an EBM approach and characterizing the status of key factors necessary for successful EBM. More than 200 participants described science needs and priorities and the status of EBM in their work in an online survey. While nearly 95% of respondents agreed that EBM was a goal, fewer than half believed it was being successfully implemented. Social (i.e., political, institutional, economic) characteristics were commonly described as limiting EBM implementation. Scientific understanding was described as supportive of EBM efforts, but critical science needs remain. Similar observations were noted and confirmed in follow-up interviews, and in review of regional coastal management plans and primary and grey literature. Thus, successful implementation of EBM requires a comprehensive evaluation, including consideration of socio-economic, political, and natural sciences. We will also discuss critical science that would fill knowledge gaps and significantly increase the likelihood of successful EBM implementation.
9:00AM Implementing Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM)
  Margaret (Peg) Brady, Kenric Osgood, Karen Abrams, Wendy Morrison
Coastal and marine ecosystems provide a broad range of essential economic, societal, and environmental services. The condition of these ecosystems and the services they provide are influenced by a variety of natural and human-based processes, stressors and activities. Conventional approaches (e.g., single-user sector or single species) to the management of ocean and coastal uses and natural resources have limitations in effectively predicting and addressing variability in resource condition and the outcomes of management actions. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is a multi-disciplined, comprehensive strategy to explore and address multiple pressures on natural resources and ecosystems. More specifically ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) applies EBM principles to fisheries management with the aim of ensuring resilience and sustainability of ecosystems. NOAA Fisheries is operationalizing EBFM following its adoption of an Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM) Policy. EBFM encompasses the following six principles: implement ecosystem-level planning; advance the understanding of ecosystem processes; prioritize vulnerabilities and risks to ecosystems and their components; explore and address trade-offs within an ecosystem; incorporate ecosystem considerations into management advice; and maintain resilient ecosystems. NOAA Fisheries developed and finalized regional implementation plans that identify actionable steps for the implementation of EBFM. This presentation will provide an overview of EBFM implementation by NOAA Fisheries.
9:20AM Evidence for Ecosystem Overfishing in U.S. Marine Ecosystems
  Jason S. Link
Fisheries are an important driver of the coastal U.S. economy, contributing billions of dollars and millions of jobs. We know that overfishing a fish stock erodes those socio-economic contributions. We have not, however, examined whether entire systems of fisheries have been overfished. Here I present four novel indices of ecosystem overfishing (EOF), providing a brief summary and theoretical background of each, with thresholds not to exceed analogous to single-species biological reference points. I then estimate values of these indices over time for all the major large marine ecosystems in the U.S. From these I show that there has indeed been EOF at points in time in many U.S. marine ecosystems. I also demonstrate that had we been monitoring EOF indicators, we would have detected major changes to fish and fisheries earlier than what we actually did by monitoring on a stock-by-stock basis. I conclude by posing recommendations of these EOF thresholds moving forward to detect and avoid any drastic changes to U.S. fisheries systems.
09:40AM Break
1:10PM The EBM in the North Atlantic – Concepts Check, Mandates Check, Tools Check, Implementation..?
  Mark Dickey-Collas, Jason Link, Robin Anderson, Anna Rindorf, Paul Snelgrove, Margaret (Peg) Brady, Ellen Johannesen, Ellen Kenchington, Howard Townsend, Alida Bundy
A group of researchers from the US, Canada and the EU has reviewed ecosystem based management in the North Atlantic. The management of marine ecosystems is transitioning towards implementation of of ecosystem-based management, which offers a more systematic and integrated approach compared with conventional management. Ecosystem Based Management is informed by science and includes key elements such as connections and linkages between and within ecosystems, as well as with social and economic systems. We found a common understanding of concepts, sufficient mandates for action and sufficient tools for most components of EBM. So why is implemention so slow? This is explored and five key messages are delivered: • Ecosystem Based Management enables new benefits and opportunities; make the business case • Yes, we can!; adequate mandates and effective tools exist for Ecosystem Based Management • Integration of human dimensions is essential for Ecosystem Based Managment; diversify the conversation • Stakeholders don’t see their stake (in Ecosystem Based Management); engage and target ocean literacy to professionals • A sustainable future requires a sustained investment in Ecosystem Based Management; commitment is key
1:30PM 150 Blue Whales Worth of Carp and Counting: Ecosystem Response to a Carp Removal on an Unprecedented Scale
  Jereme W. Gaeta, Ryan Dillingham, Timothy Walsworth, Kevin Landom
Invasive species removal efforts are commonly used to restore ecosystems, but the success of such efforts must be viewed in an ecosystem-context, not merely through the lens of a single invader or vulnerable species population. A 10-year common carp (hereafter, ‘carp’) removal effort began in 2009 to restore water clarity, macrophytes, and macroinvertebrates in the context of recovering a rare, endangered, non-benthic sucker species in a large (~38,000ha) desert lake. Prior to the removal effort, carp, intentionally introduced in the 1880s, accounted for ~80% of fish biomass while once abundant June sucker were reduced to <500 individuals. Carp were the likely driver of the June sucker decline through resuspended sediment and uprooted vegetation. Consequently, more than 150 blue whales worth of carp biomass (>12,000 tons) have been removed from the system, reducing carp biomass by >75%. From altered fish foraging behavior to a 10-fold increase in macroinvertebrate biomass to the presence of macrophyte communities not observed in living memory, I will synthesize the ecosystem response to this unprecedented removal effort and discuss the future of endangered June sucker in the face of looming threats, such as increased drought conditions and a new invader.
1:50PM Restoring the Kootenai Basin – a Tribal Approach to Ecosystem-Based Management
  Susan Ireland, Shawn Young, Charlie Holderman, Scott Soults
The Kootenai River subbasin spans the U.S. and Canadian border and includes portions of British Columbia, Montana, and Idaho. It is the homeland of the Ktunaxa Nation, which consists of six contemporary bands in the U.S and Canada, including the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho. A century of anthropogenic disturbances including disconnection and elimination of floodplains and wetlands, infrastructure development, and construction and operation of Libby Dam, resulted in degradation and losses of habitat quality, quantity, connectivity and diversity. These habitat alterations corresponded with disruptions to the food web and significant declines of numerous native fish and wildlife species in the Kootenai subbasin. The Kootenai Tribe’s Integrated Fish and Wildlife Program incorporates complimentary projects designed to address factors limiting the recovery of native fish and wildlife populations, and to increase ecosystem resilience and function. The Integrated Program is grounded in a core set of guiding principles: science-based decision making and management; respect for and integration of Tribal cultural values and traditional knowledge; recognition of local social and economic values; collaborative implementation and coordination with co-managers and stakeholders; incorporation of multi-disciplinary input; and integration of adaptive management principles.
2:10PM Fishery Functional Group Management
  Michael Fogarty, Andy Beet, Sarah Gaichas
We explore Fishery Functional Group Management as one avenue to defining pathways toward operational EBFM. We define a Fishery Functional Group (FFG) as comprising species that are caught together by specified fleet sectors, play similar roles in the ecosystem with respect to energy transfer, and have similar life history characteristics. Because these species are caught together, inter alia they share similar habitat use patterns and also size structures related to specific selectivity characteristics of the fishing gears employed. The concept accordingly encapsulates information on the catch characteristics and targeting practices of different fleet sectors and fundamental ecological characteristics of assemblages of exploited species within these operational fisheries or metiers. We report simulation tests of multispecies harvest control rules incorporating upper constraints on removals defined at the FFG level and safety nets designed to maintain biomass levels for the species comprising the FFGs above specified levels. Maintaining system resilience is an essential goal of this ‘Ceilings and Floors’ approach FFG Management is intended to directly address the challenges of managing species assemblages connected by both technical and biological interactions. Potential benefits of the overall approach include simplification of management structures, explicit consideration of tradeoffs, and greater stability overall stability.
2:30PM The Eastern Maine Coastal Current Collaboative: Building a Regional Network and Research Framework to Support EBFM
  Carla Guenther, Jonathan Hare, Carl Wilson
The Eastern Maine Coastal Current Collaborative (EM3C) is a project between Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to develop a research framework that supports ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Eastern Maine Coastal Current and its associated watersheds. An ecosystem-based approach provides a comprehensive and collaborative mechanism with the goal of improving the resiliency of coastal communities and the sustainability of fisheries. This approach provides an opportunity for adaptive processes by which we can learn and evolve approaches to management. Active participation from tribal and local stakeholders is essential. To this end, EM3C hosted a State of the Science conference in June 2019 to bring together experts from local governments, fishing, science, and academic communities. The conference is the first step toward producing a comprehensive understanding of our current knowledge of Eastern Maine’s watersheds, intertidal, nearshore, and offshore ecosystems. Through a unique mix of local community and fishing industry, academic, state, and federal speakers we aim to spark a rich dialogue toward producing a deep understanding of a local community fisheries vision and building the human network necessary to support it.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM An Ecosystem Model to Facilitate Ecosystem-Based Management of Atlantic Menhaden
  Max Grezlik, Andre Buchheister, David Chagaris, Thomas Miller, Amy M. Schueller, Edward Houde
Many fisheries management agencies are trying to shift from managing based on single-species reference points to managing based on ecosystem-based reference points. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) manages one of the most abundant forage species on the US East Coast (Atlantic Menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus), and they are working to identify potential ecological reference points (ERPs) which account for Menhaden’s role as an important prey species in the system. To aid in the evaluation and development of ERPs for menhaden, we built and updated an Ecopath with Ecosim ecosystem model of the Northwest Atlantic Continental Shelf. We quantify ecosystem tradeoffs associated with alternative management strategies to better understand direct and indirect impacts of Menhaden fishing on the biomasses and yields of menhaden and other key species in the system. Model simulations suggest that a number of economically important predators are impacted by changes in fishing pressure on Menhaden, including Striped Bass Marone saxatilis. We highlight how Atlantic Menhaden serves as a case study for how ecosystem models and ERPs can facilitate the inclusion of broader ecosystem-based considerations into fisheries management.
3:40PM Explicitly Accounting for Temporal Variability within the Context of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management for the Gulf of Mexico Living Marine Resources from 1986-2013
  Joshua Kilborn
Ecosystem status reports (ESRs) –compiled under the integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) framework– are often used by fisheries managers, academics, and stakeholders to support ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) for multispecies marine resources. However, given the broad spatiotemporal ranges and diverse scope of ESR datasets, the path from compilation to holistic understanding of the dynamics and synergies that it encompasses can be an early obstacle to regional EBFM planning and implementation. Using the 2017 ESR update for the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) large marine ecosystem, a case study is presented for the period 1986-2013. With the ecosystem-level, management-indicator selection tool (EL-MIST), regional EBFM considerations, such as the trade-offs between the health, structure, and function of multispecies fishery resources and the natural and anthropogenic factors hypothesized to affect them, were addressed for the GoM. Additionally, an explicit investigation was undertaken to determine which scales of temporal variability best explained the organizational dynamics of marine resources over the study period, and a temporally structured abiotic forcing model was developed for use in EBFM applications. This study highlights the GoM as a coupled human and natural system and exposes the variable effects of both aspects on the fisheries resources of this large marine ecosystem.

Organizers: Margaret (Peg) Brady, Tony Marshak
Supported by: Margaret M (Peg) Brady, NOAA Fisheries, AFS Fish Habitat Section

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: October 3, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm