27-28 April, 2010
Citadel Halifax Hotel, Halifax NS
Canada is committed to use the Precautionary Approach (PA) in managing its fisheries. The basis to develop PA frameworks for input control fisheries include the new Sustainable Fisheries Framework released by DFO in April 2009 which includes a Fishery Decision-Making Framework Incorporating the Precautionary Approach (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/peches-fisheries/fish-ren-peche/sff-cpd/precaution-eng.htm) and applies to all key fisheries in Canada, the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measure Program (ALSM) which may include industry proposals to develop and implement a PA Framework, as well as third-party eco-certification that require the development and use of reference points as a stock status performance indicator.
This PA Framework under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework integrates the minimum PA conservation requirements as identified by DFO Science in 2006 (“A harvest strategy compliant with the precautionary approach”, http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/status/2006/SAR-AS2006_023_e.pdf). This PA framework is a policy document to guide the implementation of precautionary principles in the management of Canadian fisheries. It suggests the development of a comprehensive set of reference points, removal references and pre-agreed harvest decision rules that may be triggered according to the status of the resource. The PA framework provides guidance on implementing harvest strategies that incorporate the essential characteristics of the PA, while giving the necessary latitude to take into account the scientific information available that may vary substantially from one stock to another. As an example, it refers to the use of alternate indicators as reference points when quantitatively derived biomass metrics are not available.
The Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures Program requires that a Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) submit a Sustainability Plan that includes improvements in conservation and sustainability of lobster fisheries, including the biology of the stock and ecosystem factors. As part of possible measures designed to achieve LFA-wide conservation outcomes such as improved prospects for biological productivity, industry may submit a proposal to implement a PA framework to manage their fishery.
PA compliant fisheries are also required for third party eco-certification, which is being sought by an increasing number of fisheries throughout the world. This includes Canadian lobster fisheries.
Most of the work done on reference points thus far has been on stocks for which standard biomass metrics are available. There is a need to investigate potential approaches and metrics that could be used to develop reference points and removal references for stocks for which biomass metrics are not available, commonly found in Canadian input control fisheries.
It is not the intent to finalize PA frameworks (e.g., indicators and associated reference points) for these fisheries at the workshop. Further work and processes will likely be required to complete the development of the framework for each stock/fishery based on regional priorities.
Science advice to guide decision-making will not be produced by the workshop. However, the information will aid further steps of the development of the PA decision framework for lobster and Dungeness crab, and possibly other input control fisheries. For both species, PA frameworks are necessary for Sustainable Fisheries Framework implementation and possible eco-certification. In addition, for lobster, preliminary PA frameworks may have to be implemented by March 2012 to respond to the requirements of the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures (ALSM) Program. The outcomes of this meeting will provide the necessary guidance to identify the ALSM requirements regarding the PA.
A Proceedings of the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) is expected and possibly other CSAS research documents.
Approximately 20 participants are expected to attend the workshop including experts from several regions within Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science and Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Sectors. In addition to DFO, there will be two participants with expertise on the development and application of reference points in the U.S. lobster fishery (from the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the University of Maine).
This internal workshop is an early stage in the development of possible stock indicators. Further steps, including the development of Harvest Control Rules, will need to be accomplished in close collaboration with industry.
DFO, 2006. A Harvest Strategy Compliant with the Precautionary Approach. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2006/023.
DFO. 2009. A fishery decision-making framework incorporating the Precautionary Approach.