Status of Fish and Fisheries in the Himalayan Region

Over 1.3 billion people depend on water and the associated aquatic  resources in the Himalayan region. The ecosystems  of the “third pole” and the animals inhabiting them are threatened with human activities and rapid global change. A wide deficiency of knowledge on the fish and aquatic life in these water bodies has hindered efforts for protection, as well as slowed the progress toward mitigating the impacts to rivers, lakes, and wetlands in the region. This session will serve as a platform for researchers, policy-makers and resource managers to present findings, opinions, approaches and visions for relevant work in the region. Ultimately, we expect a synthesis of the available knowledge among the presenters, who can benefit from each other’s expertise towards reaching the common overarching goals.


Vaskar Nepal, Western Illinois University, [email protected]
Mary Fabrizio, William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Julie Claussen, Fisheries Conservation Foundation
David Philipp, Fisheries Conservation Foundation
Troy Tuckey, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Hemanta Dhakal, Prithvi Narayan Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kaski
Rahul Ranjan, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan

Social and Ecological Dynamics of Global Distant Water Fleets and Emerging Policy Opportunities

Despite a recent increase in research on distant water fleets (DWFs), many details regarding their scale and scope remain unknown. Similarly, there is much to learn about their impacts on fisheries sustainability, local economies, and well-being; many governments around the world have identified DWFs as a key threat to the health of marine ecosystems, domestic economic opportunities, food security, and human rights. Many countries also engage with distant water fishing nations and companies for the economic benefits they provide. This session will present a series of talks outlining a wide array of the social and ecological dimensions of DWFs globally. It will also include an expert panel and roundtable discussion to outline future research and funding needs and provide a blueprint for policy action. Individuals from academia, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and governments will come together to discuss the past, present, and future DWF research and policy agenda.


Rachel Zuercher, University of Rhode Island,
Austin Humphries, University of Rhode Island, [email protected]
Lauren Josephs, University of Rhode Island
Elin Torell, University of Rhode Island
Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia
Maria L.D. Palomares, University of British Columbia

Shark Depredation: Managing a Wicked Problem

This session will explore the challenging issue of shark depredation and current research directions involving researchers and resource managers from around the world. Key focus topics will be identifying the impacts of depredation, data collection methods for quantifying depredation, education approaches for increasing public awareness about the issue and tools for managing and mitigating depredation.


Jonathan Mitchell, Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, [email protected]
Gary Jackson, Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Marcus Drymon, Coastal Research and Extension Center, Mississippi State University

Rockfishes, Marine Protected Areas, and Anglers

Rockfishes are vulnerable species to overfishing and in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a series of Marine Protected Areas across North America’s west coast were implemented in an effort to protect these species (among others) from overharvest. However anglers can play an important role in protecting these species through citizen science monitoring initiatives, improved awareness of the challenges these species face, better methods of avoiding them as bycatch, and through the use of descending devices when releasing them. This symposium focuses on the intersection of these three areas, and we are seeking presentations that explore: (i) how rockfish populations have changed due to these MPA’s; (ii) how anglers are playing a role in supporting these protected areas through citizen science; and (iii) what we have learned about best practices to encourage the long term sustainability of  these species.

The citizen science approach used in this session can greatly expand the diversity of those involved in fisheries science by demonstrating how anglers can be included in the scientific process. These new participants can strengthen the bond between fisheries professionals and the angling public in two important ways. First by expanding the capacity to collect data on a wide range of fisheries science questions, and second by tapping into the diverse experiences of these anglers, from people who are actively involved in their fishery. Integrating these under-represented groups (anglers) into the field of fisheries science, this approach has the potential to vastly expand this emerging field of science.


Road Maps for Incorporating New Methods into Science-based Fisheries Management

Changes in the climate, marine ecosystems, and management policies  have increased the demand for novel and more holistic approaches to modeling ecosystems and resource management strategies. However, building trust and relationships with managers takes time, and management systems rely on precautionary foundations with many guard rails against incorporating new approaches before they have been fully proven. We lack a consistent road map for the burden of proof new approaches should be required to clear before they can be adopted to support management. Furthermore, to avoid leaving data-limited and data-moderate systems out of innovation, the burden of proof for these systems must accommodate the limited data and increased uncertainty inherent in most of the world’s fisheries. In this session, we will explore technical and interpersonal approaches for demonstrating how new methods can be incorporated into tactical management across scales and regional jurisdictions.


Christine Stawitz, NOAA Fisheries, [email protected]
Claudio Castillo Jordan, SPC
Anne Cooper, ICES
Sean Anderson, DFO

Pathways for a Sustainable Co-existence of Offshore Energy, Fisheries and Marine Conservation: From Local Empirical Evidence to Global Perspectives

Offshore wind development is central to planning for renewable energy worldwide and reduction of carbon emissions. Existing, proposed, and planned offshore development overlaps with diverse marine ecosystems, and the effects on those ecosystems largely remain unclear and unknown. Potential effects to fish populations and fisheries are varied and could result in increases or decreases in abundance, biomass, and distribution. Offshore wind is at all stages of development globally from planning to decommissioning, so a global gathering of fisheries and conservation expertise offers a unique opportunity for researchers from East Asia, North America, Europe, and elsewhere to share their knowledge and research on co-existence of fish, fishing and offshore wind. This session will broadly address effects of offshore wind on fish, and fisheries, including both commercial and recreational fisheries. Presentations may address but are not limited to: emerging ecological and socio-economic research, innovative methods for assessment, scale considerations, and current regulatory processes.


Mike Pol, Responsible Offshore Science Alliance, [email protected]
Vanessa Stelzenmüller, Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries

Participatory Modelling and Stakeholder Engagement for Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management

Ecosystem-based fisheries management requires a profound understanding of the dynamics and feedbacks that occur within ecological systems, the human systems, and at the social-ecological interface.

A number of different quantitative modelling approaches have been applied to enhance this understanding, such as ecosystem models, bioeconomic models, social-ecological network models, and others.

Involving stakeholders at various steps of the modelling process can greatly improve the level of realism and applicability of the resulting models, while simultaneously facilitating discussions about underlying model assumptions and uncertainties. All of this can help to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of modelling efforts in fisheries management, especially in the context of (often data-limited) small-scale fisheries.

This session will focus on approaches, challenges, best practices and case study examples that highlight how stakeholder needs, perceptions and knowledge systems can be successfully integrated into the modelling process to promote an effective and sustainable management of fisheries and associated systems.


Giovanni Romagnoni, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research, [email protected]
Matthias Wolff, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research
Kelly Ortega Cisneros, University of Cape Town
Michael Kriegl, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT Bremen) & Center for Ocean and Society (CeOS Kiel)
Lotta Clara Kluger, Center for Ocean and Society, Christian Albrecht University
Pault Tuda, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research

Otoliths and Beyond: Advancing Chemical Tracers in Calcified and Archival Tissues for Sustainable Fisheries

Chemical data stored in fish otoliths and other archival tissues (e.g., scales, shells, fin rays, eye lenses) provide a wealth of information on fish life histories, from natal origins to movements, as well as support growth, trophic, physiological, environmental stress, and biomineralization studies. This multidisciplinary session will welcome contributions on the chemistry of calcified structures, and how otoliths and other archival structures can be used together with emerging technological approaches to support and advance ecological understanding and fisheries management. This session will provide an opportunity to gain insights on novel applications and interpretations of otolith and archival tissue chemistry, highlight successful case studies, discuss management solutions, and how to integrate this information with other complementary approaches. In doing so, we can champion how technological breakthroughs, innovative conceptual frameworks, and interdisciplinary collaborations can be translated into management and monitoring.


Patrick Reis-Santos, The University of Adelaide, [email protected]
Bronwyn Gillanders, The University of Adelaide
Benjamin Walther, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Karin Limburg, SUNY-ESF
Susanne Tanner, MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre
Chris Izzo, FRDC – Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

Operationalizing Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM) through Inclusive Research, Engagement, and Partnerships

Over the past decade, advances in scientific research have highlighted the importance of managing marine fisheries at ecosystem scales. However, the practice of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) remains patchy across the globe, with gaps and bright spots both evident. One of the biggest challenges encountered is limited engagement between scientists and others who are involved in management decisions. In this session, scientific experts, managers, and other relevant stakeholders will speak to some of the bright spots and past challenges that they’ve encountered while co-designing and integrating scientific knowledge to inform the advancement of EBFM in their respective locations and management contexts. This session will include presentations from a variety of individuals from different countries and different management contexts, followed by a broader group discussion on how to leverage these experiences and approaches to expand the use of EBFM principles and practice more broadly.


Jason Landrum, Lenfest Ocean Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts
Beth Fulton, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, [email protected]
Keith Sainsbury, University of Tasmania
Charlotte Hudson, Lenfest Ocean Program at The Pew Charitable Trusts

Mitigating for Dam Effects to Migratory Fish: Balancing Benefits and Costs

Human uses of water—such as for food and energy production—can unintentionally impact aquatic ecosystems and migratory fish species that are valued by society. In particular, the construction and operation of dams have been shown to alter many ecological functions that are important for influencing fish abundance and persistence.  As the reliance on food and energy production for humans continues to grow and other pressures on fish populations increase, mitigating unintentional aquatic ecosystem impacts will become more challenging.  Mitigation for valued species is diverse but often includes actions such as: hatchery production, habitat restoration, management of species interactions, and transporting fish around barriers. The important questions for regulatory agencies are how much mitigation is enough, what type of mitigation is most appropriate, and what level of monitoring is necessary? This symposium attempts to answer these questions in hopes of achieving a balance between energy, food, and fish conservation.


Todd Pearsons, Grant County Public Utility District, [email protected]
Timothy Taylor, Grant County Public Utility District