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NFCC Consensus Statement on Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fisheries Management

Download an Adobe PDF version of the statement here, or go to "More" to read the abstract online.


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Consensus Statement on Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fishery Management

The Consensus Statment will be posted here on Thursday, August 19, 2004 in both a version for online viewing and an Adobe PDF format file for downloading.

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Conference Delivers Scientific Consensus

An expert panel has concluded that marine reserves should be considered in the broader context of the development of ecosystem-based fishery management in the U.S. The group found that marine reserves have important objectives for ecosystem conservation and protection of marine biodiversity in addition to whatever benefits they may have for achieving fishery management objectives.

These conclusions came after a dozen top scientists presented results of the most up-to-date research on the effects of marine reserves on the behavior of fish and fishermen at a Consensus Conference on Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fishery Management June 7-9 in Long Beach, California.

The National Fisheries Conservation Center convened the meeting to bring together modelers, ecologists, fishermen, stock assessment scientists and other analysts to try to produce a more integrated theoretical basis for designing, managing and monitoring marine reserves as part of the fishery management system. Dr. Don Boesch, president of the Center for Environmental Science at the University of Maryland chaired the meeting, which drew more than 100 participants from as far away as Alaska and the Caribbean.

Those attending the meeting as observers affirmed the use of the consensus format for resolving the tough questions surrounding marine reserve science and urged NFCC to extend the format to other contentious fishery management debates.


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Presentations from Consensus Conference

Most of the presentations made by experts at the June Consensus Conference can be downloaded from this site by clicking on the button "Resources" at right. Presentations are listed by author and title. Two presentations that were unavailable for this posting, by Arne Fuglvog of Petersburg, Alaska and by Steve Palumbi of Stanford University, will be posted to the site as soon as possible.

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Background Materials for Consensus Conference

The background papers used by the Review Panel and the Presenters at NFCC’s June Consensus Conference were assembled by the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS) from a variety of sources including books and journals. Copyright issues prevent NFCC from including the documents themselves on the website, but interested persons can locate the materials by downloading the bibliography (go to "More" and then click "bibliography") or through the COMPASS website. That site also includes links to the background materials used by the planning committee in preparing the questions for the conference.


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Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fisheries Management
Auditorium of the Chancellor's Office, California State University
401 Golden Shore Street, Long Beach, CA

(Meals and breaks noted on the agenda are provided for all registered participants)

Day 1: Monday, June 7
7:30 - 8:30 Continental breakfast
8:30 - 9:30 Welcome and Introductions
9:00 - 10:30 Presentations and questions from the Review Panel
(Palumbi, Hixon, Botsford)
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 12:00 Presentations and questions from the Review Panel
(Fujita, Allen, Rosenberg)
12:00 - 1:15 Lunch


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Consensus Conference travel support available for fishermen

The Port Liaison Project and The Nature Conservancy are making stipends available for up to 40 fishermen—commercial or recreational—who want to attend the Consensus Conference on Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fishery Management.

NFCC President Brock Bernstein said the idea to seek support for a fisherman stipend is a new approach. "Fishermen assert, with justification, that they are not paid to attend conferences such as this, although the outcome may directly affect their livelihood," Bernstein said. Unlike some stakeholder groups, not only do they have no source of funds to pay for travel and other related expenses, they lose income. "So in order to create as level a playing field as possible, we budgeted and sought support for a stipend to fund the attendance of 40 fishermen at the conference," he said.

The Port Liaison Project is a cooperative effort among Oregon SeaGrant, the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, CIMRS and fishing industry members to foster opportunities for collaborative research. The Nature Conservancy is interested in ensuring that the recreational fishing sector continues its involvement in the dialogue over marine reserves.

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How to Navigate this Site

This page is devoted to NFCC's upcoming Consensus Conference on Integrating Marine Reserves Science and Fishery Management. You can scroll down to read the latest news about the conference, including topics, presenters and scientific information.

At the right you will find a list of links to more information about the conference. You can access past articles and postings, lists of committee members, registration information, the questions the conference will answer.

If you have any questions or want to provide feedback on the site or the conference, use the Discussion Forum. You can get into the forum by clicking the button on the left.

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Consensus Conference FAQs

We have had many inquiries and comments on the June Consensus Conference on Integrating Marine Reserve Science and Fishery Management, and the approach is still raising questions.

In its work, NFCC tries to apply—in the fishery management realm—tools that have worked in other contexts. For example, we used Appreciative Inquiry, a technique from conflict negotiation and corporate change, to develop our strategic plan. We applied Decision Analysis, a tactic used to assess risk and values in other natural resource applications, to fishery management questions.

Watching scientists from two disciplines—reserve ecology and stock assessment—try to understand and apply each others' theoretical approaches tempted us to try a consensus conference as a way to bridge what seemed to be a gap in the models. We hope we have provided some answers to your Frequently Asked Questions.


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NFCC President Expects Groundbreaking Discussion

A few years ago I began noticing that discussions about the use of marine reserves in fisheries management contained a surprising disconnect between two groups of scientists.

There were basic differences between marine ecologists working on reserve theory, and stock assessment scientists familiar with the existing management system. These scientists had different views about what ecological processes dominated, how data should be interpreted, and what modeling approaches to use.

These largely unexplored disagreements limited fruitful dialogue, precluded the development of more sophisticated management tools, and, all too frequently, allowed advocacy from all sides to dominate policy-making.


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