Andre Punt

Professor of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Andre PuntAndré Punt is a Professor of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. His research focuses on the development and application of quantitative methods for assessing and conducting risk analyses for fish and marine mammal populations. With his research group, Marine Population Assessment & Management Group (MPAM), he develops population dynamics models and fits them to field data using classical and Bayesian methods. The models are then used as the basis to evaluate approaches to achieve fishery and ecosystem management goals.

Goals for fisheries management

The goals for fisheries management relate to the

  • conservation of target species and the ecosystem which supports those species,
  • maximization of yields and economic efficiency, and
  • minimization of the impact of fishery regulations on fishing communities.

These goals are, however, frequently in conflict, and fishery managers require that the trade-offs among these goals achieved by different management approaches to be quantified in order to make decisions. Furthermore, the scientific information on which fishery management decisions are based is always incomplete and uncertain. However, the consequences of not making management decisions given incomplete information are such that fishery managers need to make decisions even in the absence of complete information. Consequently, there is a need to quantify uncertainty and evaluate its impact on the expected outcomes of different management approaches.

Computer simulation techniques are increasingly being used to evaluate the trade-offs among alternative management approaches and to understand the consequences of basing fishery management decisions on incomplete and uncertain information. These techniques (Figure 1) involve first constructing models of the system to be managed. These models, referred to as operating models, allow uncertainty regarding the true situation being managed to be captured, with the aim that management approaches that are robust to uncertainty can be identified. A second set of models are developed which represent the basis for making management fishing trip simulationsdecisions—these models are necessarily much simpler than the operating models, and are designed so that the values for their parameters can be estimated using real-world data and hence reflect the perception of reality as seen by fishery managers.

The use of simulation to evaluate management actions is termed the Management Strategy Evaluation approach and this approach has been applied by the MPAM group and their collaborators at the Northwest and Alaska Fishery Science Centers to a variety of marine resource management problems. For example, this approach has been used to explore the ability of the management strategies used by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to achieve fishery management goals for walleye pollock given climate-induced variation in recruitment, and whether the rebuilding plans implemented by the Pacific Fishery Management Council are likely to rebuild stocks at rates consistent with U.S. Federal fisheries legislation. Researchers in MPAM will be participating in the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP) to evaluate management strategies for the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Most of André's research pertains to fishery resources off the west coast of North America, and he is a member of the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Crab Plan Team. However, André's research extends beyond North America and he is a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission where he is currently involved in using Management Strategy Evaluation to develop strategies for the management of aboriginal subsistence harvesting.

André spends his summers in Australia where he has been exploring management strategies for fisheries on the Great Barrier Reef. This has led to the development of models of the dynamics of the major target species (coral trout and red throat emperor) as well as the fisheries which harvest those species.