structures operate should better match those of important processes that affect fisheries. Participation in management should be extended to all parties with significant interests in marine ecosystems that contain exploited marine organisms. Institutions should allocate shares in or rights to fisheries, rather than allowing openly competitive allocations. The clear explication of management goals and objectives is a prerequisite to achieving effective and equitable management.

Information Needs

Better understanding is needed of the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems, including the role of habitat and the factors affecting stability and resilience. This includes attempting to understand mechanisms at lower levels of organization (i.e., populations and communities), long-term research and monitoring programs, development of models that incorporate unobserved fishing mortality and environmental variability (e.g., El Niño events) into fishery models, multispecies models, and trophic models. More research is also needed on the biological effects of fishing, such as the alteration of gene pools and population structures as a consequence of fishing. More research is needed on the conditions under which marine protected areas are most effective, and marine protected areas themselves should be used as research tools as well as for conservation.

More information is needed on the effects and effectiveness of various forms of rights-based management approaches and other management regimes, on the way people behave in response to different economic and social incentives, and on barriers to cooperation and sharing of information. The committee recommends research into the roles of communities in fisheries management, including the use of community-based quotas and other assignments of rights to communities, and explorations into the feasibility of granting management responsibilities to those engaged in a particular fishery, regardless of their geographical community ("virtual communities").

The need for more information should not be used as an excuse for inaction; that excuse has contributed significantly to current problems. Enough is known to begin taking action now.

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