M-Risk: A framework for assessing global fisheries management efficacy of sharks, rays and chimaeras
Available here as IOTC 2022 WPEB18-INF06 (pre-print).
Fisheries management is essential to guarantee sustainable capture of target species and avoid undesirable declines of incidentally captured species. A key challenge is halting and reversing declines of shark and ray species, and specifically assessing the degree to which management is sufficient to avoid declines in relatively data-poor fisheries. While ecological risk analyses focus on intrinsic ‘productivity’ and extrinsic ‘susceptibility’, one would ideally consider the influence of ‘fisheries management’. Currently, there is no single management evaluation that can be applied to a combination of fishery types at the scale of individual country or Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). Here, we outline a management-risk (M-Risk) framework for sharks, rays and chimaeras used to evaluate species' risk of overfishing resulting from ineffective management. We illustrate our approach with application to one country (Ecuador) and RFMO (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission) and illustrate the variation in scores among species. We found that while both management units assessed had similar overall scores, the scores for individual attributes varied. Ecuador scored higher in reporting-related attributes, while the IATTC scored higher in attributes related to data collection and use. We evaluated whether the management of individual species was sufficient for their relative sensitivity by combining the management-risk score for each species with their intrinsic sensitivity to determine a final M-Risk score. This framework can be applied to determine which species face the greatest risk of overfishing and be used by fisheries managers to identify effective management policies by replicating regulations from countries with lower risk scores.