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A HARVEST STRATEGY COMPLIANT WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Advisory Report 2006/023 (Drafted by members.

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Presentation on theme: "A HARVEST STRATEGY COMPLIANT WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Advisory Report 2006/023 (Drafted by members."— Presentation transcript:

1 A HARVEST STRATEGY COMPLIANT WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Advisory Report 2006/023 (Drafted by members of the DFO Science PA WG)

2 Context Canada has been a strong proponent of the management principles outlined in the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement (UNFSA) that it ratified in the fall of came into effect in December requires countries to use the Precautionary Approach (PA) in the management of fisheries Privy Council Office (PCO) of the Government of Canada developed the Federal Framework for the Precautionary Approach to ensure that precaution would be applied consistently across disciplines in government - became government policy in 2003 Over the last decade, there have been a number of initiatives in Canada to define the precautionary approach in a fisheries context, to identify benchmarks that would be consistent with the approach and to apply it in fisheries management

3 Introduction to the PA A general philosophy to managing threats of serious or irreversible harm where there is scientific uncertainty. Good risk management compels us to use caution and to take uncertainty into account when making decisions Application of precaution requires increased risk avoidance where there is risk of serious harm and uncertainty is great

4 Important elements Should be incorporated into fishery management plans and the implementation of the strategy should be evaluated on a regular basis PA based harvest strategy aims to keep the removal rate moderate when the stock status is healthy, promote rebuilding when stock status is low and ensure a low risk of serious or irreversible harm

5 DFO 3 Zone PA Framework 1.Healthy Zone - stock status is considered to be good - removal rate should not exceed the Removal Reference 2.Cautious zone - fisheries management actions should promote stock rebuilding towards the Healthy Zone - removal rate should not exceed the Removal Reference - Removal Reference should progressively decrease as the stock level approaches the Critical zone 3.Critical Zone - the status of the stock has declined to such a low level that it is considered to be in a precarious state - fishery management actions must promote stock growth- removals by all human sources must be kept to the lowest possible level

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7 Serious and irreversible harm Depensation - recovery from low biomass could be very protracted or perhaps not even possible and could lead to extirpation The dynamics of populations at very low stock levels are not well understood - removals may increase the risk of further decline and impede recovery - Canadian policy on PA calls for the identification of serious or irreversible harm (limit reference point) In the absence of evidence of depensation, there does not appear to be a completely non-arbitrary method of determining the limit reference point Subjectivity in the determination of this limit reference point – various proxies considered Under high uncertainty and risk, the PA prescribes extra caution – exploitation to be kept at the lowest practicable level when the stock is at risk of falling below the limit reference point Below the limit reference point - emphasis on taking appropriate management actions to promote an increase in biomass

8 Conlusions These minimal elements should be included in fisheries management plans and used to guide decisions for all species Reference points should be developed for all stocks so that implementation of the PA can proceed The application of harvest strategies compliant with the PA will require development of risk- based decision frameworks for each species stock (role of MSE in this regard gaining some importance?)


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