Implementing balanced harvesting: practical challenges and other implications
Reid, David G.
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Reid, David G. Graham, Norman; Suuronen, Petri; He, Pingguo; Pol, Michael (2016). Implementing balanced harvesting: practical challenges and other implications. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 73 (6), 1690-1696
Balanced harvesting (BH) has been proposed as an alternative to the paradigm of more selective fishing as practiced in most European and North American fisheries management. We examine options for the implementation of BH and evaluate the issues raised in such an implementation. Implementation is considered at the whole ecosystem level, in terms of the patterns of removal for all species, both commercial and bycatch. We suggest that a &quot;laissez-faire&quot; approach analogous to the African lakes where BH was first observed is inappropriate in managed developed world fisheries. We consider two further approaches: focusing on either the species caught or on the sizes of animal alone. We find that aiming to harvest all species with an exploitation rate appropriate to their productivity would require a degree of micro-management that is probably unachievable, with all captured species &quot;choking&quot; the fishery in sequence. The size-based approach works with an exploitation rate appropriate to the productivity at size, with no consideration of the species involved. This might superficially be easier to implement, as management would involve a limited number of size classes only. However, problems may arise due to the likely faster capture of the more easily catchable fish, and also likely targeting of the more valuable species within a size class. We identify a possible third option of &quot;broad brush&quot; metier-based management that may resolve some of these problems. Other issues include the management of protected, endangered, and threatened species (including mammals, reptiles, and birds), the management of already severely depleted stocks, and the capture of benthic invertebrates.