Living Marine Resource Assessment for the 21st Century: What Will Be Needed and How Will It Be Provided?
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It is not often that one gets the opportunity to look broadly at the likely circumstances and needs of the next generation of fishery assessment practitioners, and to consolidate the lessons of our experience. The twenty-first century is only three years away, but in this talk I will look mainly to the circumstances and needs of about 50 years hence in the mid-twenty-first century. By that time even the youngest of the present assessment practitioners are unlikely to be still practicing, but we will have left our mark—a legacy of assessment methods and assessment approaches, and the health of the world’s living marine resources.
Here I will be drawing a long and speculative bow, with the aim of providing food for thought going into this symposium [Fishery Stock Assessment Models for the 21st Century, Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 8-11, 1997]. It is a personal view, recognizing that this is just one view among many and that the track record of such views is not good. Thomas Huxley (in Smith 1994), for example, stated in 1883 that "…all the great sea-fisheries are inexhaustible; that is to say nothing we can do seriously affects the number of fish." Huxley was right for about thirty years, but this view did not prepare the fishing industry, fishery managers, or fishery scientists well for what was to follow.
In this paper I will first look at the circumstances and expectations of marine living resource assessments in the mid twenty-first century, the issues that are likely to be important, and their effects on the assessment themselves. This is a mixture of some things that I hope will happen and some things that I fear will happen. I will then look at whether there will have to be a paradigm shift from present approaches, based on a brief examination of how well present approaches have performed. And finally I will address the question: If there is to be a paradigm shift, what will it be toward? In answering this question I will identify the major developments needed to address the likely circumstances and expectations of assessments in the mid twenty-first century, and will illustrate developing approaches in present assessments.
- Item number: AK-SG-98-01a
- Year: 1998
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.4027/fsam.1998.01