A step toward EBM: Form a regular advisory group
The lead article in your last issue (MEAM 3:5) asked for steps that resource managers can take for an immediate, noticeable difference in making management more ecosystem-based. Remember that a single manager is going to be incapable alone of judging all the signs of discomfort in an ecosystem, which even for unfished stocks will show unfortunate tendencies that cannot always be explained or avoided. Two recommendations emerge from this. First, a regular advisory group should meet at monthly or more frequent intervals, and scientists should make up some but not all of its members. Second is to recall that scientists are made up of individuals with varying skills: those who are obsessive about their favorite model or theory to the exclusion of other approaches, and those with broader and longer historical perspectives who are less likely to view a problem from a single perspective. You as the manager (and the rest of your team) must decide which seems more appropriate to have in your advisory group.
Independent fisheries consultant, Italy. E-mail: jfcaddy [at] yahoo.co.uk