CIE Spotlight: A Call for Evidence-Based Conservation and Management of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources

Alex W.

Authors: Cooke, Steven J.; Wesch, Sean; Donaldson, Lisa A.; Wilson, Alexander D. M.; Haddaway, Neal R.

Source: FISHERIES, 42 (3):143-149, MAR 2017

Brief summary of the paper: Natural resource management agencies implement conservation policies with the presumption that they are effective and of benefit to aquatic ecosystems. However, it is often difficult to decide what management action to implement and what will be most effective.

Here we call for natural resource management agencies to fully adopt and implement evidence-based management (EBM) for conservation and fisheries management. We support this call by providing a primer on systematic reviews, a core tool in evidence synthesis but one that is rarely used in the context of fisheries management.

We highlight the benefits and challenges associated with implementing EBM, with a particular focus on the routine decisions and management actions undertaken by natural resource practitioners. We submit that by adopting EBM, practitioners would have access to the best available evidence on the effectiveness of various management and conservation interventions, while providing defensible and credible evidence to inform decision-making processes and policies.