Working Group: Dynamic Ocean Management

Identifying more successful spatial and temporal management approaches by creating dynamic boundaries based on ocean features, multi-species ecology, and user needs.

The dynamic ocean management approach provides a platform to balance resource use with species or ecosystem protection and has the potential to integrate multiple management objectives, e.g. bycatch reduction, stock management, and sustainable socioeconomic yields. By identifying where and when resource users can maximize profitability and avoid ecological damage, this approach aims to improve efficiency and selectivity by helping ocean users (e.g., fishers) optimize their effort while balancing resource utilization with conservation. For example, knowing the likelihood of protected species occurrence in space and time may mean the difference between closing an entire fishery and regulating just a portion of the fishing grounds.

Unlike traditional fisheries management strategies, dynamic ocean management supports a process that is adaptive by design, i.e. this approach is explicitly designed to integrate new information as it becomes available. In our drift gillnet case study, the aim is to inform where fishermen can target swordfish, while reducing bycatch, to create a more sustainable system for the resource and the users. This will support fishers’ livelihoods, while reducing impacts on protected species. Additionally, it will reduce management costs associated with managing this fishery due to the large number of conflicts between ecological and economic objectives.

A leatherback turtle is tangled in a long-line.  Photo Credit: Guy Vivaldi, Marine Photobank.

Project Updates

The Center for Ocean Solutions began this working group on Dynamic Ocean Management (DOM) in 2013 providing an initial assessment of the legal and policy basis for DOM and has since been building the science case for implementation of this approach with support from NASA and NOAA. We are working with NOAA, regional management councils and fishermen in the California Current to vet and refine this approach termed ECOCAST. The next steps in forging the future of DOM are to conduct a comprehensive management-policy analysis to identify enabling conditions and potential regulatory pathways for DOM and to develop a structured framework that equips fishery managers and regional councils with clear guidance for appropriate application of DOM strategies.