When fish stocks shift across jurisdictional boundaries, whether due to warming temperatures, range expansion, or other environmental conditions, it can cause significant management challenges. In the United States, policies for renegotiating allocation of stocks are lengthy and complex, raising issues of fairness and equity among stakeholders and potentially exacerbating the risk of overfishing. Nimbler mechanisms for reallocation – termed “adaptive allocation” – could help managers be more responsive to a fish stock’s shifting distribution.
To better understand options for a system of adaptive allocation, the Lenfest Ocean Program is funding a group of experts coordinated by Dr. Rod Fujita, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Dr. Arielle Levine, San Diego State University. Using a step-wise approach, researchers will work with fishery managers and stakeholders to investigate retrospective adaptive allocation options and their ecological and socioeconomic tradeoffs, for two important fisheries in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic: summer flounder and black sea bass. The researchers aim to use insights gained about these fisheries to explore other regions where such a system could potentially inform management of transboundary stocks.