Management strategy evaluation (MSE) involves using simulation to compare the relative effectiveness of different combinations of data collection schemes, methods of analysis, and subsequent processes leading to management actions, for achieving management objectives. MSE can be used to identify a ‘best’ management strategy among a set of candidate strategies, or to determine how well an existing strategy performs. MSE is at the interface between science and policy. The basic steps which need to be followed when conducting an MSE are:
- identification of the management objectives in concept and representation of these using quantitative performance statistics;
- identification of a broad range of uncertainties to which the management strategy should be robust;
- development of a set of models which provide a mathematical representation of the system to be managed;
- selection of the parameters of the models;
- identification of candidate management strategies which could realistically be implemented for the system;
- simulation of the application of each management strategy for each operating model; and
- summary and interpretation of the performance statistics.
The Punt Lab has been at the forefront of developing and applying MSE both within the U.S. and internationally. For example:
- Dr. Punt has worked with the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission to develop management strategies for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling for over 25 years.
- We have applied MSE to evaluate how robust management strategies for Gulf of Alaska pollock and eastern Bering Sea snow crab are to climate-related fluctuations in abundance
- We have applied MSE extensively in Australian fisheries to find management approaches which will achieve management objectives for rock lobster populations off South Australia, fish stocks off southeast Australia, prawn stocks in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and linefish stocks on the Great Barrier Reef.
- We are currently working with the Pacific Fishery Management Council on an MSE which will refine the harvest control used for the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine.
- Dr. Punt and PhD student Chantel Wetzel are developing a MSE to evaluate the harvest control rules applied to management stocks of rockfish off the US west coast which are under rebuilding plans for the Pacific Fishery Management Council.