What is Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management?


Source Pew Foundation/ Jim Toomy

Ocean conservation is essential but sometimes difficult to understand. Pew joined forces with cartoonist Jim Toomey, the artist behind “Sherman’s Lagoon,” on 10 animated videos that explain the complicated concepts that guide efforts to protect our oceans.

Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology – Cartoon crash course

#8 What Is Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management?

Ocean life doesn’t live in a bubble—if you want to take care of one fish species, you also have to preserve where it lives and understand the other animals it interacts with. This big picture approach to marine conservation is called ecosystem-based fisheries management.

As cartoonist and conservationist Jim Toomey explains above, “EBFM” recognizes that every part of the marine ecosystem, from the kelp forest to the blue whale, is interconnected.

Cartoonist Jim Toomey—whose daily comic strip, Sherman’s Lagoon, is syndicated in more than 250 newspapers in the United States—joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to illustrate “ecosystem-based fisheries” and other terms associated with our oceans.


Ecosystem based fishery management… Try saying THAT 10 times fast.

Ecosystem based fishery management…

Ecosystem based fishery management…

Maybe we should just call it EBFM.

Fisheries managers used to focus only on the health of one species when proposing fishing regulations – like where, when and how much to fish one particular kind of fish. But then they noticed that fishing wasn’t the only human activity that affected fish populations.

For example, fish died when their reefs died, or when their waters warmed or when pollution fouled the waters they breathe.

The EBFM approach goes like this: If you want to preserve a certain species of fish, you have to preserve the place where they live, and the species they interact with. It’s a big-picture approach that recognizes that the great blue whale and the humble forage fish, the kelp forest and the deep ocean canyon are all interconnected…

Even if they might have different cellular plans.

It’s like your community: It’s one thing to have a cool family, but you also need neighbors, restaurants, playgrounds and clean air to breathe!

Ecosystem-based fishery management considers all pieces of the community puzzle – Even that stinging nettle that slipped into your bathing suit last summer.

So how about saying “we’re all in this together” 10 times fast?


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February 8, 2017 |

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