By: Joshua P. Kilborn, PhD
A Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) is a new management paradigm that incorporates the principles of ecosystem-based fisheries management. It seeks to manage many fish species at a time in a holistic and environmentally sustainable manner. Earlier this year, I was part of a team that published an advice document designed to guide managers and stakeholders within the Gulf of Mexico fisheries management community in developing and implementing a Gulf-wide FEP.
Our FEP planning and execution strategy focuses on (1) defining conceptual models and describing resource status, trends, and threats for the fisheries system, (2) developing a consistent (but flexible), action-oriented vision statement with strategic objectives that prioritize efforts and processes, (3) identifying performance measures and selecting management strategies, and (4) finalizing and implementing the FEP as a guidance document while continually monitoring and periodically updating the plan as (1) and (2) evolve over time.
In addition to presenting this work to stakeholders at the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council as an executive summary, a manuscript was peer-reviewed and published in the Bulletin of Marine Science. Furthermore, Pew Trusts has dedicated a website for this work within their “Ocean Conservation” initiative and under the “Conserving Marine Life in the United States” project. Take a look here.
This collaboration was undertaken in partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts and with National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team members and support. The work falls within the scope of the Marine Resources Assessment program at the USF College of Marine Science. Read more about the MRA program.