Biological Assessment

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Organizers

The Biological Assessment theme panel chair is Rose Emma Mamaa Entsua-Mensah of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana. Ian Cowx of the University of Hull (UK) and Steve Cooke of Carleton University (Ottawa) are acting as panel facilitators.

Questions to Be Addressed

Biological assessment is a fundamental component of contemporary science-based fisheries management. Or is it? In the developed world, routine biological assessment is taken for granted.  However, it is still imperfect. Consider the massive number of lakes in Minnesota or northern Ontario relative to the limited resources available to devote to fisheries assessment and monitoring. In the developing world, there are inherent challenges with assessment including lack of capacity, resources, and relevant natural history information (e.g., undescribed species). Fishery-dependent data can be difficult to generate because many freshwater fisheries are unregulated with no formal licensing schemes. Moreover, in small-scale fisheries many of the harvested fisheries products move rapidly into black market trading and bartering which is difficult to quantify.

To inform fisheries management, we need to develop and validate a variety of biological assessment tools that are flexible and robust. For example, is there potential to develop remote-sensing based approaches for estimating fisheries productivity? Given that habitat is the foundation for healthy and productive fisheries, it may also be informative to develop proxies for productivity based on environmental metrics. And what are the best ways to track fisheries harvest in the recreational, commercial, and subsistence sectors? Is there a role for household surveys or fisher log books? And do the same techniques that work in rivers work in lakes?

These superficially simple questions plague fishery biologists and resource managers on a daily basis around the globe. There is dire need for creative discourse related to developing better tools for biological assessment of the diverse inland aquatic systems and fisheries that exist around the globe.  Through a lively panel discussion, contributed papers, and breakout groups, the state of biological assessment in inland waters will be explored. The focus will be on developing solutions that are scalable and effective.

Locations of Biological Assessment theme first authors

Locations of Biological Assessment theme first authors

Biological Assessment theme presentation research areas

Biological Assessment theme presentation research areas