Understanding and managing enhancements: why fisheries scientists should care

J Fish Biol. 2014 Dec;85(6):1807-29. doi: 10.1111/jfb.12573.


Fisheries enhancements are a set of management approaches involving the use of aquaculture technologies to enhance or restore fisheries in natural ecosystems. Enhancements are widely used in inland and coastal fisheries, but have received limited attention from fisheries scientists. This paper sets out 10 reasons why fisheries scientists should care about understanding and managing enhancements. (1) Enhancements happen, driven mostly by resource users and managers rather than scientists. (2) Enhancements create complex fisheries systems that encompass and integrate everything fisheries stakeholders can practically manage. (3) Enhancements emerge in fisheries where the scope for technical and governance control is high, and they synergistically reinforce both. (4) Successful enhancements expand management options and achievable outcomes. (5) Many enhancements fail or do ecological harm but persist regardless. (6) Effective science engagement is crucial to developing beneficial enhancements and preventing harmful ones. (7) Good scientific guidance is available to aid development or reform of enhancements but is not widely applied. (8) Enhancement research advances, integrates and unifies the fisheries sciences. (9) Enhancements provide unique opportunities for learning about natural fish populations and fisheries. (10) Needs, opportunities and incentives for enhancements are bound to increase.

Keywords: aquaculture; enhancement; governance; hatcheries; restoration; stocking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Ecology
  • Fisheries*
  • Fishes