Fishing for the Future: The Case for Harvest Strategies

Modern, science-based management could help fish stocks around the world

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.

Harvest strategies have proved to be far more effective than traditional management methods, replacing short-term, profits-focused decision-making with swift, efficient, and stable oversight that is designed to balance tradeoffs among management objectives for both the species and socioeconomic dimensions of the fishery. This scientific approach also better accounts for the variable and uncertain environments in which fisheries operate.

This animation from The Ocean Foundation explains harvest strategies, including how they are developed to achieve a long-term vision for a stock and the fisheries that target it.

Fishing for the Future

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Fishing for the Future: The Case for Harvest Strategies
The Ocean Foundation

Rachel Hopkins leads The Pew Charitable Trusts’ advocacy to improve the management of international fisheries by regional fisheries management organizations. 

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.

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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Harvest Strategies

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A novel approach, known as “harvest strategies” or “management procedures,” is emerging as the next innovation in fisheries management. 

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