Workshop on Reconciling Spatial Scales and Stock Structures for Fisheries Science and Management


Monday and Tuesday
June 27-28, 2011
Sheraton Harborside Hotel Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Recently, fisheries scientists have shown that commercially important fish species may rely more heavily on local habitats as important home ranges for spawning. Fisheries managers and researchers refer to this as “localized stock structures.” In general, these habitat ranges occur at a much more local range, or finer-scale, than was previously considered for the purposes of stock assessment and management. One example, from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, was the observation of localized cod spawning areas in Massachusetts Bay. Researchers concluded that many groundfish populations are loyal to particular spawning grounds and that for many species evidence about local stocks is really evidence that ocean populations and ecosystems operate over multiple habitat ranges. From a management perspective, the implication is that we have to manage fisheries over multiple habitat ranges, not just as a single large scale population (i.e. Gulf of Maine cod) if we hope to be able to learn, adapt and conserve the resource.

A two-day public workshop will be held to explore how fisheries management can better use data on multiple habitat ranges, or finer-scales, of commercially important species to more effectively manage our fisheries resources.

The public forum will address:

What do we know and what progress has been made?
Identify evidence of spatial scale structure of populations and ecosystems, and provide examples where such spatial scales have been successfully incorporated within a management context.

What do we need to know and how will we get there?
Identify critical information, processes, and scientific and managerial requirements needed to achieve fisheries management at appropriate ecological scales.

What are the social incentives, benefits, and risks of alternative management scales?
Given fine-scale stock structure patterns, what types of fisheries management approaches will maximize our knowledge about ecosystem structure and function? Specifically consider consequences of management scales that are too large vs. those that are too small. Identify the potential impacts on access and utilization of catch allocations by the fishing community.

Invited Speakers

The workshop will bring both a local and international perspective to this issue. A panel of invited speakers who have addressed multi-scale aspects of fish populations have been brought together to help frame the discussions.

• Dr. Michael Fogarty, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
• Capt. Paul Howard, New England Fishery Management Council
• Dr. Ana Parma, Argentine Council for Science and Technology, Centro Nacional Patagonico
• Dr. Simon Thorrold, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Who Should Attend

We hope all fisheries stakeholders will consider attending. In particular, fishermen, conservation groups, managers and researchers are encouraged to attend as well as to submit an idea for a talk, poster or panel discussion. The workshop will explore these questions through a combination of formal presentations by invited speakers and break-out sessions. The break-out sessions will provide participants the opportunity to participate in open discussions as well as hear focused presentations on break-out topics. To register and for more information visit the workshop website at or call Rachel Feeney, Northeast Consortium (603-862-2276) or Ken La Valley, NH Sea Grant (603-862-4343).

Organizational and/or funding support provided by:
• Mike Armstrong, MA Division of Marine Fisheries
• Steve Cadrin, University of Massachusetts
• Aaron Dority, Penobscot East Resource Center
• Rachel Feeney (Co-Chair), Northeast Consortium
• David Goethel, NH Commercial Fisherman
• Jake Kritzer, Environmental Defense Fund
• Ken La Valley (Co-Chair), NH Sea Grant
• Melissa Sanderson, Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association
• Fred Serchuk, NOAA Fisheries NE Fisheries Science Center
• Bob Steneck, University of Maine
• Melissa Vasquez, NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office
• Jim Wilson, University of Maine h


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