The Impact of Water Security on Freshwater Fisheries Management: A Multinational Perspective


William W. Taylor, Shauna Oh, Nancy J. Leonard, Jianguo Liu, Tracy Dobson, Zhiyun Ouyang, Rebecca M. Bratspies

Journal or Book Title: American Fisheries Soceity Symposium 49

Page Number(s): 587-595

Year Published: 2007


Freshwater resources are rapidly decreasing in quantity and quality, thereby becoming stressed and, in many cases, becoming scarce for human and ecosystem use. Individuals and nations will need to modify their allocation of freshwater among users to preserve and conserve this resource, assuring that sufficient water is available to meet human and ecological needs. Freshwater needs of ecological systems are generally not considered when making water allocation decisions, unless mandated by local, national, or international laws. It is, however, undeniable that the health and productivity of a fish population is inextricably linked to the integrity of its freshwater ecosystem. This important link between freshwater and sustainable fishery makes it imperative for fisheries managers to understand and incorporate the use of freshwater resources by all sectors of society within their management plan. To accomplish this goal, however, two main factors need to be addressed, the first being society’s valuation of fish populations, such as whether there is an imperative to maintain instream flows of sufficient freshwater for healthy fish populations, and the second being the need to eliminate the existing separation between water and fishery managers with the objective of integrating them into a common management system. In this paper, we evaluate management concerns regarding water use and its relative scarcity and how this impacts fisheries sustainability and productivity. We examine how a society’s perception of the importance of maintaining sufficient instream flows to preserve fish populations is related to its reliance on its water resources and how this perception affects the approaches taken by that society to assure water security for locally embedded ecosystems and their fisheries.

Type of Publication: Journal Article