Resource Management

Ecosystem Management

At MRAG we have developed considerable experience in undertaking environmental assessments including environmental impact statements. Projects include research to support the establishment of ecological reserves, essential fish habitat, implementation of ecosystem-based fishery management, identification of conflicts between fishing gear types, threats to non-target species, and design of guidelines to minimize the loss of biodiversity. Assessments have been conducted on behalf of the US NOAA Fisheries Service, US Regional Fishery Management Councils, international Regional Fishery Management Organizations (including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission), and NGOs.

Ecosystem Management Services Offered

  • Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
  • Ecosystem-based management approaches
  • Statistical modeling
  • Community-based management
  • Water resources management
  • Natural resources economics
  • Resource policy and administration
  • Coastal Zone Management

Selected Ecosystem Management Projects

  • Complete the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the generic amendment addressing essential fish habitat (EFH) requirements for all fisheries (Client: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service)
  • Development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Essential Fish Habitat for the U.S. Caribbean Region (Client: NMFS Caribbean Fishery Management Council)
  • Economic Model Development to assess impacts of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities on Gulf of Mexico Fisheries (Client: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service)
  • Economic Valuation of Coral Reefs and Adjacent Habitats in American Samoa (Client: Jacobs/GIBB)
  • Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Risk Analysis for West Coast Groundfish (Client: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission)
  • Fisheries Management and Biodiversity on the Patagonian Shelf (Client: World Bank)
  • Planning Framework Options for Integrated Multi-Use Ocean Management in MA (Client: Massachusetts Ocean Partnership)
  • Technical Support for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan Review Process (Client: NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program)
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Fisheries Management

MRAG can provide expert advice on and practical input to a wide range of development and management issues in fisheries and the environment including stock assessments and essential fish habitat (EFH) studies. Multidisciplinary teams provide a comprehensive and integrated resource management service from initial characterization and assessment of the resource, through the design and implementation of management programs, to the subsequent regulation and monitoring of harvesting activity. Our integrated approach to resource management requires consideration of the physical, biological, technical, social, economic, and institutional elements of resource utilization.

MRAG can provide expert advice on and practical input to a wide range of development and management issues in fisheries and the environment including stock assessments and essential fish habitat (EFH) studies. Multidisciplinary teams provide a comprehensive and integrated resource management service from initial characterization and assessment of the resource, through the design and implementation of management programs, to the subsequent regulation and monitoring of harvesting activity. Our integrated approach to resource management requires consideration of the physical, biological, technical, social, economic, and institutional elements of resource utilization.

We have undertaken assessments on a diverse range of living resources from fish, crustacean, and molluscan species. We have conducted fisheries stock assessments on resources of all sizes, from small tropical island fisheries in the Pacific and Caribbean to industrial operations. We have also conducted assessments for extensive inshore and floodplain fisheries with in excess of one million fishers and 10,000 mechanized artisanal vessels. Through our involvement in artisanal fisheries (both coastal and inland), MRAG have demonstrated a capability in evaluating and developing alternative governance structures for fisheries management, including the use of co-management. Our experiences in commercial fisheries management have strengthened our ability to advise on ecosystem-based fisheries management. Many of our projects have a direct positive impact upon social development on developing rural communities.

  • Fisheries Assessment and Management Services Offered
  • Assessment of Fishing Communities
  • Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)
  • Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management
  • Statistical Modeling
  • Socioeconomic Surveying
  • Stock Assessment
  • Artisinal Fisheries
  • Commercial Fisheries
  • Recreational Fisheries
  • Natural Resource Economics
  • Resource Policy and Administration

Selected Fisheries Assessment and Management Projects

  • Analysis of issues involved in the evaluation of the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council (Client: WWF United Kingdom)
  • Analysis of Some Critical Issues in the Design of Fishery Independent Bottom Trawl Surveys for West Coast Groundfish (Client: NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center)
  • Collection of socioeconomic data for the South Atlantic shrimp fishery (Client: NMFS Southeast Regional Office)
  • Development of an Atlas of Bycatch in U.S. Fisheries (Client: Oceana)
  • Development of bycatch avoidance/bycatch reduction measures for the North Pacific groundfish fisheries (Client: NMFS North Pacific Fishery Management Council)
  • Evaluation and analysis of current field sampling and inseason catch estimation procedures used in North Pacific groundfish fisheries (Client: NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center)
  • Facilitation and consultation of USVI FHC Meeting to Revise Commercial Fishing Regulations (Client: USVI Division of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Fisheries: Status, Trends, Biodiversity Impacts and Quality for Management (CI Whitefish) (Client: Conservational International)
  • Gulf of Mexico Essential Fish Habitat Amendment (Client: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council)
  • Productivity — Susceptibility Analysis of 26 Reef Fish Species in the Gulf of Mexico for Annual Catch Limits (Client: Ocean Conservancy)
  • Gulf of Mexico Total Mortality Scorecard (Client: Ocean Conservancy)
  • Icelandic Cod Management Review (Client: Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries)
  • Integrated Marine Ecosystem Model (Client: NMFS, Northwest Fisheries Science Center)
  • Lessons Learned from Recent MPA Designations in the U.S. (Client: National Fisheries Conservation Center)
  • Management of Grand Banks Fisheries (Client: WWF Canada)
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Trawler Buyout (Client: Environmental Defense)
  • New England Bycatch Analysis (Client: NMFS, Northeast Fisheries Science Center)
  • North Sea Fisheries Management (Client: WWF European Policy Office)
  • Presentation of Red Snapper Review to Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Client: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council)
  • Review and Analysis of Data Collection and Monitoring Processes for the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery (Client: Archipelago Marine Research, Ltd.)
  • Review of Red Snapper Bycatch Data in the Gulf of Mexico (Client: Environmental Defense)
  • Setting Annual Catch Limits for US Fisheries and Identifying Best Practices in Fisheries Management (Client: Lenfest Ocean Program)
  • Use of Productivity-Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) in Setting Annual Catch Limits for the Federal Fisheries of the United States (Client: Lenfest Ocean Program)
  • Stage 1 of the EIS for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl IQ Program (Client: Northern Economic, Inc.)
  • Integrated Marine Ecosystem Model (Client: NMFS, Northwest Fisheries Science Center)
  • Status Review of Three Grouper Species in the US Caribbean (Client: NMFS, Southeast Regional Office)
  • Survey to collect vessel and gear characteristics data from shrimp fishermen (Client: NMFS, Southeast Regional Office)
  • The status of hake fisheries off western Africa and the role played by subsidised fishing fleets (Client: WWF United Kingdom)
  • Video monitoring system to estimate reef fish bycatch on bottom longline vessels in Gulf of Mexico (Client: NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center)
  • Western Atlantic Herring Management Simulation Analyses (Client: Lenfest Ocean Program)
  • Rapid Assessments against sustainable fishing criteria (Client: Has been conducted for multiple clients)
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Protected Resources

We have developed considerable expertise in the undertaking of projects to evaluate risks, offer remediation, and apply precautionary principles for protected resources. MRAG has developed an analytical framework for assessing the effects of Alaska groundfish fisheries on listed species, including Stellar sea lions; modeled the effects of fisheries on the recovery of Steller sea lions in the North Pacific; assessed international conservation activities for marine mammals, evaluated threats, identified gaps in conservation and management, assess bycatch of endangered, protected and threatened species, and developed a strategic plan for international marine mammal conservation; we have also provided scientific and technical services for NMFS, Office of Protected Resources.

Protected Resources Services Offered

  • Marine mammals
  • Marine protected Areas
  • Sea turtles
  • Coral
  • Terrestrial mammals

Protected Resources Projects Completed

  • Development of an analytical framework for assessing the effects of Alaska groundfish fisheries on listed species, including Stellar sea lions (Client: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service)
  • Identify and Evaluate International Marine Mammal Conservation (Client: NOAA Office of International Affairs)
  • Interpretation of the Precautionary Approach to Fisheries Management (Client: WWF United States)
  • Modeling the effects of fisheries on the recovery of Steller sea lions in the north Pacific (Client: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service)
  • NPRB Steller Sea Lions in a Changed Environment Study (Client: North Pacific Research Board)
  • Scientific and Technical Services for NMFS, Office of Protected Resources (Client: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
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Policy/Governance

The creation of environmental and fisheries policy involves the consideration of a wide variety of interacting factors. We at MRAG understand the importance of the relationship between scientific research and policy development and provide clients with advice and guidance on the preparation of coherent policy frameworks. The building of institutional capacity and capability is an important step on the path to the implementation of sound resource management and environmental policy. With our wealth of experience, we are well placed to offer advice, services and personnel to assist in the enhancement of institutional capacity in developing countries.

Policy / Governance Services Offered

  • Fishery conservation and management (including Management Plans and Amendments)
  • Resource policy and administration
  • Development of regional scientific institutions
  • Community-based management
  • Fishing rights and licensing
  • Fisheries legislation
  • International fisheries agreements
  • Insurance and liability for observer programs
  • Use of VMS, including legal framework
  • Individual Fishing Quotas (or Transferable Quotas)
  • Vessel/Permit buyback programs

Selected Policy / Governance Projects

  • Advisory Paper on the use of Spawning Potential Ratio as a Management Reference Point by NMFS (Client: Center for Marine Conservation)
  • An Evaluation of Rebuilding Plans for U.S. Fisheries (Client: Lenfest Ocean Program)
  • Applying the Precautionary Approach to NAFO (Client: WWF United Kingdom)
  • Development of the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership Fund (Client: Resources Law Group, LLP)
  • Risk and Reward: Developing efficient access rights regimes for exploratory and developmental fisheries (Client: Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics/ Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)
  • Scientific Review of the harvest strategy currently used in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fishery management plans (Client: North Pacific Fishery Management Council)
  • Stock Assessment Review of North East Groundfish (Client: The Ocean Studies Board, NRC)
  • WWF-NAFO Simulations (Client: WWF United States)
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