Abstract

The classic theory of fisheries management seeks a maximum sustainable yield from a target species. There are several variations that include uncertainty, fluctuation, and species interactions. The knowledge that sustainable fisheries do not always guarantee conservation of a diversity of species is well known. Ecosystems provide several categories of ecosystem services to human wellbeing: supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. Fishery yields belong to provisioning services. The existence of living marine resources may maintain these services, and certainly a much larger contribution from regulating services than that from fishery yields. Therefore, we define an optimal fishing strategy that maximizes the total ecosystem service instead of a sustainable fishery yield. We call this the fishing policy for "maximum sustainable ecosystem service" (MSES). The regulating service likely depends on the standing biomass, while the provisioning service from fisheries depends on the catch amount. We obtain fishing policies for MSES in a single species model with and without uncertainties and in multiple species models. In any case, fishing efforts are usually much smaller than those for a maximum sustainable yield (MSY). We also discuss the role of fisheries in sustaining ecosystem services, and the nature of ecosystem comanagement.