Thinking Regionally, Managing Locally
by Inka Milewski
The collapse of the Northern cod stock off Canada's northeast coast stripped thousands of fishermen and fish plant workers of their livelihood in 1992.
Despite the observations of inshore fishermen regarding changes in abundance, distribution, behaviour, and size of their catch and growing scientific evidence that the Northern cod stock was in fact comprised of a number of sub-populations, Northern cod was managed as a single stock. The largest source of data used in management assessments were from the offshore fishery even though the inshore fishery accounted for one-third to one-half of all landings.
As it turned out, managing for simplicity (a single stock) rather than complexity failed to detect and incorporate the disappearance of sub-populations of cod that had begun to occur as early as the 1960s. This failure highlights a simple concept in the study of geographic patterns and their relationship to ecological phenomena