Science Advisory Report 2010/089
Canadian Atlantic Seal Management Strategy
- The Atlantic Seal Management Strategy, formerly referred to as Objective Based Fisheries Management (OBFM), was the first plan to incorporate a precautionary approach in the management of marine species in Canada. It provides a framework that identifies precautionary and critical reference limits which define healthy, cautious and critical zones of abundance, along with management actions that are triggered when thresholds are exceeded to reduce potential damage to the resource.
- Currently, the precautionary and critical reference levels are defined as 70% and 30% of the maximum observed population size.
- Results of model simulations show that the full impact of any proposed management plan on the dynamics of the population cannot be identified within the life of the management plan and therefore, management plans should be evaluated over a period of 15-20 years. The longer time frame can also result in higher and more stable catches.
- The current management approach uses estimates of total population to assess the status of the population with respect to the reference levels. Although pups are the component of the population that is directly measured, their numbers are estimated infrequently and respond slowly to environmental changes or harvest levels that affect young seals. Therefore, model estimates of total abundance provide a more responsive measure of current population status to harvest history. Because inputs to the assessment model such as pup production and reproductive rates are subject to measurement error, they, and the assessment, must be updated frequently.
- Although additional simulations are required to determine if there are more appropriate precautionary levels, based on model simulations carried out to date, the current precautionary reference level (N70) and the management objective with respect to population size (L20) do not appear to be overly cautious.
- The current management plan allows for 10% of the unused quota in one year to be carried over to the following year within a 5-year management plan. Increasing the amount of carry over to 20% is unlikely to have a negative impact on the population as long as the total removal is the same over the life of the management plan.
Cet avis scientifique est un processus de consultation scientifique du Secrétariat canadien de consultation scientifique de Pêches et Océans Canada qui a eu lieu du 22 au 26 novembre 2010, lors de la réunion annuelle du Comité national d’examen par les pairs sur les mammifères marins. Les publications additionnelles découlant de ce processus seront affichées dès qu’elles seront disponibles sur le calendrier des avis scientifiques du MPO.
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