Ecosystem-Based Plans Can Protect Marine Life, Fishermen, and Ocean Health

Big-picture approach to Gulf of Mexico fishery management offers economic, conservation benefits

Ecosystem-Based Plans Can Protect Marine Life, Fishermen, and Ocean Health

Fishery managers can make better decisions about the future of red snapper, gag grouper, and other important species that support recreational and commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico by taking the dynamics of the ocean environment into account.

Fishery ecosystem plans provide a roadmap for identifying, tracking, and addressing the factors that influence fish populations, such as red tides, warming oceans, and species interactions, and call for managers to use the latest science, fishermen’s expertise, and other available data to inform their decisions. The plans are typically crafted and executed with stakeholder input and are tailored to regional needs.

The Pew Charitable Trusts funded a research paper, published this year in the Bulletin of Marine Science, that offers recommendations for customizing a plan to meet the needs of the Gulf of Mexico region and describes the potential benefits of this approach.

Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
Issue Brief

Gulf of Mexico Needs New Fisheries Management Strategies

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Issue Brief

Gulf of Mexico fishery managers set fishing seasons for red snapper, taking into account various factors such as that red snapper live a long time, can take up to a decade to become fully reproductive, and are a target for many anglers. The decisions that managers make can determine whether any given season will successfully contribute to coastal economies.

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