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Maryland Sea Grant and its partners have developed a scientific and technical foundation for a new approach to managing the Chesapeake Bay’s fisheries. It’s called Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM.)
We served as facilitators for this major, ambitious effort in order to offer sound, research-based guidance to natural-resource managers responsible for key fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay. A priority goal of the EBFM approach is to foster high yields in fisheries while maintaining the structure and function of the ecosystem.
Note: Oysters may be considered for EBFM in the future.
For additional insights about EBFM in the Chesapeake Bay, read Managing the Chesapeake's Fisheries: A Work in Progress, for sale in our Bookstore. This book, part of Maryland Sea Grant’s Chesapeake Perspectives series, summarizes current management efforts, potential implications of climate change, disease challenges, and the need for new science. It was written by Edward D. Houde of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
For more information about EBFM, contact Fredrika C. Moser, Ph.D., director, Maryland Sea Grant.
Maryland Sea Grant is uniquely positioned to facilitate the development of an EBFM framework for Chesapeake Bay fisheries. We have a track record as an unbiased platform for discussion and building consensus on Chesapeake Bay issues involving science.
For the EBFM project, we recruited more than 85 scientists, natural-resource managers, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from within and beyond the Bay region who volunteered their expertise.
Experts served on one of four panels called Species Teams. Each panel studied a different key species.
Each team worked to identify the critical ecosystem stressors for the species and to explain these in reports. This information could serve as a foundation to inform the development of fishery performance measures and reference points (to help managers determine appropriate harvest levels for each species.)
Maryland Sea Grant facilitated this work by recruiting the experts, convening workshops, and helping to synthesize the scientific consensus that emerged from the committees’ work. We also communicated the panels’ guidance to stakeholders and fishery managers, including the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Goal Implementation Team for Sustainable Fisheries.