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Management strategy evaluation in regional fisheries management organizations − How to promote robust fisheries management in international settings

Nakatsuka, Shuya
Fisheries research 2017 v.187 pp. 127-138
fisheries, fisheries management, governance, stakeholders, tuna, uncertainty
Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) is a process to develop a management strategy that is robust to uncertainties and appropriately reflects the trade-offs among the management objectives of stakeholders. It is widely recognized as best practice to develop a management strategy for fisheries management and has been implemented in a number of domestic fisheries. In contrast, implementation of MSE in the international fisheries management is limited. In this study, the development of MSE in various (five tuna related and eight other) regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) is reviewed and common features among RFMOs that have been either successful or not so successful are studied, mainly from the viewpoint of a decision-maker. Furthermore, challenges specific to RFMOs to implement MSE are discussed. It is found that the complex nature of the governance by RFMOs as an international institute poses unique challenges for implementing MSE, which is not easy even in much simpler domestic fisheries. In addition to further efforts to improve communication with stakeholders to obtain their understanding and commitment to the MSE process, it is suggested that RFMOs take a more practical approach to advance work on MSE, which is to discuss and decide the elements of MSE such as management objectives, their associated performance indicators and the harvest control rules as a package which includes examples of practical options and their differences in performance, rather than having an initial focus on conceptual aspects such as early clarification of objectives, to improve management as soon as practicable.