Harvest Strategies Toolkit

Science-based fishery management can help ensure long-term sustainability

Harvest strategies are an approach to fisheries management under which managers and stakeholders agree in advance to adjust catch limits and other measures based on size of the fish population. Also known as management procedures, harvest strategies can play an important role in creating and maintaining sustainable stocks and a more secure supply chain. Because harvest strategies are a relatively new concept to some and are technical in nature, it is important to foster a better understanding of the approach among key audiences, including scientists, managers and other stakeholders such as the fishing industry, seafood retailers and conservation organizations. This toolkit examines the various components of the harvest strategies process from development to implementation, how these pieces work together and how they affect decision-making to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries management.

Harvest Strategies
Harvest Strategies
Issue Brief

Harvest Strategies: 21st Century Fisheries Management

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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.

To Strengthen Fishery Management, RFMOs Should Use Science-Management Dialogue Groups
To Strengthen Fishery Management, RFMOs Should Use Science-Management Dialogue Groups
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RFMOs Should Use Science-Management Dialogue Groups

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Issue Brief

Traditionally, fisheries management has relied on advice from scientists making educated assessments to predict the present and future size of a fish population.

Tuna in Italy
Tuna in Italy
Fact Sheet

Harvest Strategies Glossary

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Fact Sheet

Harvest strategies are emerging as a critical innovation in fisheries management. Understanding the terms used to describe the many steps in the process will help fisheries managers and other stakeholders effectively apply the practices described in this toolkit. Consistent definitions provide a universal frame of reference for discussing harvest strategies and the concepts involved.

Tuna fishing boat.
Tuna fishing boat.
Issue Brief

Harvest Strategies

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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.

Tuna
Tuna
Fact Sheet

Harvest Strategies: Management Objectives

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Fact Sheet

In recent years, managers of tuna fisheries around the world have begun to shift to using harvest strategies, or management procedures, because they offer a more predictable and stable approach than the traditional use of stock assessments followed by often contentious quota negotiations. The effectiveness of harvest strategies depends, in large part, on managers first agreeing to a set of management objectives for the fishery and the stock, and then using a process called management strategy evaluation (MSE) to select a harvest control rule that is most likely to achieve these goals.

Tuna Strategies
Tuna Strategies
Issue Brief

Harvest Strategies: Reference Points

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Issue Brief

Fisheries managers are responsible for ensuring the health of both fisheries and fish populations. How is health defined, and how can success be measured? Through biological reference points, such as the biomass needed to provide maximum sustainable yield (BMSY). Scientists have used reference points for over 50 years to evaluate stock status and now are applying them more broadly; in fact, reference points are emerging as one of the most widespread and effective bases for modern fisheries management.

Ships
Ships
Fact Sheet

Harvest Control Rules

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Fact Sheet

Harvest control rules (HCRs) are the operational component of a harvest strategy, essentially pre-agreed guidelines that determine how much fishing can take place, based on indicators of the targeted stock’s status. These indicators can be based on either monitoring data or models.

Fishery Management
Fishery Management
Fact Sheet

Management Strategy Evaluation for Fisheries

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Fact Sheet

Management strategy evaluation (MSE) is a tool that scientists and managers can use to simulate the workings of a fisheries system and allow them to test whether potential harvest strategies—or management procedures— can achieve pre-agreed management objectives. In so doing, MSE helps to determine the harvest strategy likely to perform best. That means the strategy would perform well, regardless of uncertainty, and balance trade-offs amid competing management objectives. Around the world, fisheries are moving toward management based on harvest strategies to increase long-term sustainability, stability and profitability. MSE must be an integral component of the process to ensure that the chosen strategy can achieve its objectives.

Waters
Waters
Issue Brief

Case Studies of Harvest Strategies in Global Fisheries

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Issue Brief

An examination of existing harvest strategies showcases the range of approaches and what success can look like. As management bodies, including the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) focused on tunas, develop these strategies, policymakers, scientists and stakeholders can gain insight from reviewing the designs and implementation processes for the harvest strategies already in use.

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Fishing for the Future
Fishing for the Future
Article

Fishing for the Future: The Case for Harvest Strategies

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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.

Management Strategy Evaluation
Management Strategy Evaluation
Article

New Fisheries Management Method Benefits Industry and Ocean Health

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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.

Tuna
Tuna

Global Fishing Stakeholders Call for Harvest Strategies

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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.