Harvest Strategies

The next phase of fisheries management

A school of bluefin tuna swimming.
A well-designed and well-tested harvest strategy, paired with an effective compliance regime, can ensure that depleted stocks fully recover and provide long-term, sustainable, and profitable fisheries.
Richard Hermann

Traditional fisheries management is a two-step process: First, scientists conduct stock assessments, and then fishery managers negotiate measures, such as catch quotas, to make sure that the resource—the targeted fish—is being used optimally and sustainably. Although this seems simple enough, the current approach has too often proved ineffective in its implementation.

An alternative approach, known as harvest strategies or management procedures, is emerging as the next innovation in fisheries management. Harvest strategies are pre-agreed frameworks for making fisheries management decisions. They are akin to agreeing to the rules before playing a game and shift the perspective from short-term, reactive decision-making to longer-term objectives. Although different management bodies name and define them slightly differently, all harvest strategies include these basic elements: management objectives; a monitoring program; indicators of the fishery’s status and population health, with associated reference points; a method to assess those indicators; and harvest control rules that set fishing opportunities, which could include catch and size limits, depending on the value of key indicators relative to the reference points. Robust harvest strategies are tested through a process called management strategy evaluation before they are implemented.

Fishing for the Future
Fishing for the Future
Article

Fishing for the Future: The Case for Harvest Strategies

Quick View
Article

Effectively managing fish stocks for the long term requires experience, science, and advance planning. Harvest strategies, an innovative approach, combines those elements and more, providing fisheries managers a clear framework for determining science-based, precautionary measures for fish stocks. Also known as management procedures, harvest strategies move managers away from yearly, and at times contentious, quota negotiations to a set of pre-agreed rules geared towards fostering long-term sustainability and profitability of fisheries.

Tuna
Tuna

Global Fishing Stakeholders Call for Harvest Strategies

Quick View

Effective long-term management of the world’s fish stocks requires science, stakeholder engagement and advanced planning. An innovative approach known as harvest strategies combines those elements, providing fisheries managers a science-based framework for determining precautionary measures for fish stocks.

Additional Resources

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
ian-hutchinson-U8WfiRpsQ7Y-unsplash.jpg_master

Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.

Management Strategy Evaluation
Management Strategy Evaluation
Article

New Fisheries Management Method Benefits Industry and Ocean Health

Quick View
Article

Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are increasingly developing and adopting a modernized system of management known as harvest strategies. This approach shifts managers’ focus from short-term quota-setting to a set of pre-agreed rules designed to achieve longer-term objectives, such as maximizing both catch and the likelihood of achieving and maintaining a healthy stock.

Harvest Strategies
Harvest Strategies
Issue Brief

Harvest Strategies: 21st Century Fisheries Management

Quick View
Issue Brief

Traditional fisheries management is a two-step process: First, scientists conduct stock assessments, and then fishery managers negotiate measures, such as quotas or time-area closures, to make sure that the resource—the targeted fish—is being used optimally and sustainably. While this seems simple enough, the current approach is anything but.