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Improving Gulf Fisheries
Engaging Stakeholders to Build Better Fisheries
Responsible fisheries management is a process of continual improvement. Fisheries exist in a dynamic environment. They depend on fish and shellfish—living resources that inhabit an ever-changing ecosystem influenced by both manmade and natural variables including fishing, climate, pollution, and salinity. Other forces such as shifts in market demand and policy also impact fisheries. To be effective, a fishery management program must monitor changes in these conditions and adapt to them, improving the science, management, and operation of a fishery.
Through G.U.L.F., Audubon Nature Institute will be an active part of this process, facilitating Advancement Plans to help Gulf fisheries navigate towards greater sustainability. Advancement plans are designed to engage stakeholders, including industry, regulators, and scientists, to collaborate in continually enhancing fisheries, from research and regulations to harvesting and handling.
Audubon is adapting the advancement plan process to facilitate these projects specifically for fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The model includes three main steps:
- Identify advancement plan participants.
- Define scope and goals of advancement plan.
- Formally evaluate the fishery.
- *This does not have to be a pre-assessment for third-party certification; however, it must use a standardized and thorough methodology.
- Participants come together to review the fishery evaluation, discuss issues and recommendations for fishery improvement, and agree on project goals.
- Participants draft work plan, which sets expectations for the project and milestones to measure progress.
- Participants make work plan publicly available.
- Participants carry out activities identified in the work plan and report on their progress.
Communicating these projects is a key component of the previous steps and important to the overall success of an advancement plan. Information about participants, fishery evaluations, work plans, and progress reports will all be publicly available and will be posted on Audubon G.U.L.F.’s website.