1. Carefully specify management goals. Biological, economic, and social goals are important.

  2. Quantify goals, and collect data designed to measure progress toward them.

  3. Conduct research to increase understanding of the natural system and to determine the influence of management actions on goals. Monitor past management actions, and consider adaptive approaches to future management actions.

  4. Recognize that the world is uncertain, that our knowledge is imperfect, and that rectifying mistakes may take a long time. Adopt a cautious approach to fisheries management. A cautious approach should apply to actions that may lead to biological, ecological, social, and economic effects.

  5. Deliberately seek management alternatives that minimize the total costs of achieving management goals. Remember that total costs include biological, ecological, economic, and social dimensions, and that the distribution of total costs over time and among stakeholders is important.

Carefully specifying management goals will minimize the disagreement among decision-makers that leads to conflicting emphasis on different aspects of outcomes. Quantifying goals will place the focus on measuring outcomes, providing objective measures to assess decision-makers’ performance, and guiding analysts in evaluating alternatives. Monitoring past actions will reduce ignorance about the fisheries system and thereby reduce uncertainty associated with the future. Focusing on total costs of an action encourages both exploring and developing least-cost alternatives and reveals the extent of “cost-shifting” that is contained in some proposals.

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