WAMSI Node 3.2.3 - Biodiversity Assessment, Ecosystem Impacts of Human Usage and Management Strategy Evaluation
This project was developed for the Ningaloo Research Program (NRP) to explore the effects of managing recreational fishing, which is perhaps the most important extractive activities in the Ningaloo Marine Park. The project used simulation techniques known as Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) to explore the consequences of a range of management actions, under a series of alternative future scenarios on the management of a major target species on Ningaloo Reef, spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus). The results of the scenarios are examined against the objectives set out by management and other stakeholders in the park.
A simulation model, known as ELFSim, was used. ELFSim is a decision support software system designed to evaluate options for conservation and harvest management, and includes a number of key components: a population dynamics model of target species that captures the full life history (including larval dispersal, reproduction, development, and habits) of the target species, a model of fishing dynamics that captures the exploitation pattern due to fishing behaviour, a management model that simulates the implementation of management actions. ELFSim was developed for other coral reef fisheries where commercial fishing was the primary fishing activity, and in this sought to develop a simulation model of recreational fishing dynamics.
This model was agent-based, meaning that individual recreational fishing boats were represented in the model, and a range of management measures were tested on the ability to manage these virtual recreational fishers. These management measures, derived from stakeholder workshops include the effect of increasing the no take sanctuary zones, and restricting the fishing in sanctuary zones that occurs from shore. The effectiveness of these management actions in the simulation model was measured against the management objectives of the stakeholders.
Management objectives were classified according to ecological (conservation) objectives, or social and economic objectives. The results showed that the current management arrangement perform adequately against the range of ecological and social objectives. However, for other management actions, the results showed the inherent trade-off that exists between the ecological objective and the social objectives.