Ecosystem Management

CINAR research on ecosystem management will contribute to achieving NOAA’s goals of advancing understanding of coastal, marine ecosystem health and associated socioeconomic benefits, and developing forecasting capabilities for management needs.  The research also will provide technologies and information services for NOAA partners and customers to improve an ecosystem-based approach to management, and public understanding and stewardship to ensure that ecosystem and sustainable development principles are incorporated into planning, management, and use of coastal and marine resources. 

Demand grows for information to manage heavily exploited and utilized ocean resources. The NES LME is coupled tightly to the human communities and economies in the coastal zones of the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Over the last decade, ocean industries have grown at a rate exceeding the growth of the broader region’s economy. Led by strong growth in real estate, reflecting a continuing trend of population movements toward the coast, ocean industries represent nearly 8% of gross coastal state product in the region.

Extensive degradation and overuse of ocean resources, however, limits potential benefits to humans of the NES and its resources. These impacts prominently include over-exploitation of fisheries and nutrient pollution in nearshore waters. Further, humans living, working, and playing in coastal areas now are threatened as never before by natural hazards, including HABs, aquatic invasive species, and potential impacts from global climate change, such as shoreline change, ocean warming, the redistribution of species, ocean acidification, sea-level rise and inundation, and increasing frequency and intensity of storms. Overfishing, pollution and the growing list of hazards co-produced by humans and nature are strong indicators that human uses of the coastal ocean have been unsustainable. The impending impacts of climate change, in particular, call into question the resiliency of coastal communities to such threats.

NOAA is committed to developing an EAM  for coastal and ocean resources. The commitments are reinforced by legislative actions, executive directives, and public demand (e.g., Magnuson-Stevens Sustainable Fisheries Act; JSOST Ocean priorities Plan, JSOST 2007; EPAP 1999; NOAA 2005, 2007, 2008). In addition, research priorities of management agencies, including the Regional Fisheries Management Councils and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, increasingly express a need for knowledge that can be applied in EAM (see support letters, Appendix 1).  Both the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils have explicitly recorded these priorities (NEFMC Research Priorities and Data Needs 2009 – 2013 meeting of November 18 – 20, 2008; MAFMC Research Priorities and Data Needs. Five-Year Research Plan, MAFMC 2008). Although some ecosystem-based approaches for management can be implemented now (Murawski 2007), there is a critical need for EAM research. 

CINAR’s Ecosystem Management Theme responds to the FFO request for proposals to conduct “Research on promoting sustainable coastal development, facilitating community resiliency and enabling an ecosystem approach to management in the NES LME.” The research on ecosystem management proposed by CINAR will contribute to achieving NOAA’s goals of advancing understanding of coastal, marine ecosystem health and associated socioeconomic benefits, and developing forecasting capabilities for management needs. The research also will provide technologies and information services for NOAA partners and customers to improve EAM, and public understanding and stewardship to ensure that ecosystem and sustainable development principles are incorporated into planning, management, and use of coastal and marine resources. 

CINAR proposes research relevant to the Ecosystem Management theme in five areas:

  1. coupled natural and human systems;
  2. human community engagement;
  3. managing forage fish species;
  4. fisheries models and decision-making tools in EAM; and
  5. human and ecosystem health.

 

Notably, the proposed Tier 1 research projects in this thematic area are closely connected to research in other CINAR themes and will therefore be implemented collaboratively. Projects proposed under the Ecosystem Management theme emphasize science directed at assessment and evaluation needs that can directly support EAM. They recognize that climate variability and change impose strong controlling forces on natural resources. The proposed science programs will provide knowledge to improve management of fisheries, and develop appropriate responses to other problems and hazards in the NES LME. Importantly, they include strong elements in bioeconomics and ‘human dimensions’ in evolving EAM strategies, a developing emphasis in NOAA (http://www.sab.noaa.gov/Reports/SSWG.pdf).

Funded Ecosystem Management Abstracts

  1. Commercial Fishing Vessel Electronic Trip Reporting Pilot StudySteve Eayrs, GMRI
  2. Understanding Determinants of Success of New England Fish SectorsDaniel Holland, GMRI
  3. Funding Dockside Monitoring for New England Ground Fish Sectors in FY 2010Jonathan Labaree, GMRI
  4. Social Science Performance Measure and Indicator Outreach ‐ Meredith Mendelson, GMRI