The power of an interactive decision support system (DSS) is in its ability to test multiple scenarios, conduct sensitivity analyses, and link multiple objectives. The following cases illustrate that biodiversity and fishery objectives can be put together using a regional planning approach with multiple tools that have their own independent assumptions and algorithms to address an issue. These examples are:
Case 1: Marxan with and without marine fish targets and fishing effort
Case 2: Ecospace results in and outside of site selection solutions
The DSS and accompanying database provide tools to help coastal managers and decision makers take an ecosystem approach to management. They allow organizations to consider the fishery implications of biodiversity conservation as well as management agencies to consider the effects on biodiversity of different fishery management scenarios.
While ecoregional planning assesses the distribution of species, habitats, ecosystems and the threats that affect them, conservation organizations are just now adopting fishery production models. There is a wealth of spatial and non-spatial data on marine fish and fisheries that exists in the scientific literature, and conservation groups have yet to fully utilize them. This regional case study represents an approach to transparently linking biodiversity conservation with information on fishery production in a marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management context.