Strong fisheries management and governance positively impact ecosystem status

Alida Bundy, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Jennifer L. Boldt, Borges Maria F., Camara Lamine, Ibrahima Diallo, Clive Fox, Elizabeth A Fulton, Ayse Gazihan, A Jarre, Didier Jouffre, Kristin M. Kleisner, Ben Knight, Jason Link, Patroba Matiku, Hicham Masski, Yunne-jai Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Fisheries have had major impacts on marine ecosystems and effective fisheries management and governance are needed to achieve both sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation goals. To date, the IndiSeas program (Indicators for the Seas) has focussed on assessing the ecological impacts of fishing at the ecosystem scale using ecological indicators. Here we explore fisheries 'Management Effectiveness’ and ‘Governance Quality’ and relate this to ecosystem status. To this end, we developed a dedicated expert survey, focused at the ecosystem level, with a series of questions addressing aspects of
management and governance, from an ecosystem-based perspective, using objective and evidence based criteria. The survey was completed by ecosystem experts (managers and scientists) and results analysed using ranking and multivariate methods. Results were further examined for selected ecosystems, using expert knowledge, to explore the overall findings in greater depth. Higher scores for ‘Management Effectiveness’ and ‘Governance Quality’ were significantly and positively related to ecosystems with better ecological status. Key factors that point to success in delivering fisheries and conservation objectives were the use of reference points for management, frequent review of stock assessments, whether Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) catches were being accounted for and addressed, and the inclusion of a wide group of stakeholders. Additionally, we found that the implementation of a long-term management plan, including economic and social dimensions of fisheries
in exploited ecosystems, was a key factor in successful fisheries management. Our results support the thesis that good ecosystem-based management and governance, and healthy ecosystems go together.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-439
Number of pages27
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2016


  • Fisheries
  • Management
  • Governance
  • Ecological indicator
  • Ecosystem-based fisheries management
  • EBFM
  • Expert evaluation
  • Fisheries governance quality
  • Fisheries management effectiveness
  • Socioeconomic indicators


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