Step 6. Prioritization

Working with stakeholders, the Organization and Prioritization Matrices were adjusted to fit the hypothetical community’s level of risk tolerance to climate change – considering that all targets are vulnerable to climate change (as determined through the Climate Impact Profile at Step 1), it was determined that any species with even a moderate status and medium to high vulnerability to the fishery level should be considered a High Priority. Next, each combination of vulnerability and status scores (derived in Steps 4 and 5, respectively), was examined with stakeholders to develop 1) fish baskets and 2) to prioritize each fish basket for management and further assessment.

Organization Table to Develop Fish Baskets:

case study org table

Prioritization Table with Fish Baskets and Representative Species:

case study prior tableStakeholders identified four distinct fish baskets to manage the 18 fished targets, two of high priority, one of moderate priority and one of low priority. The fish baskets are organized by estimates of vulnerability and health status, as well as fishing season and ecosystem to improve management feasibility. The highest priority fish basket of year-round fishing within the coral reefs has three groupers, two snappers and two wrasses. The high priority and seasonal deep reef fish basket has five targets; two snappers, one grouper, one grunt and a jack. Whereas both the moderate priority seasonal and Low Priority Seagrass and mangrove baskets each have three targets. Stakeholders also outlined representative species for their baskets in black. Finally, species highlighted in purple have been identified as especially vulnerable to climate change (and should thus be monitored for indications of these impacts).

At this step, we do recommend continuing on through Step 9 for an in-depth assessment of all stocks if possible, although if necessary, additional assessments of lower-priority stocks can be postponed. To ensure adequate data are available to conduct Step 9 assessments, we will continue to collect SCUBA visual survey, length data, and catch data, watching for signs of increased fishing pressure or reduced abundance that can be explained by increased fishing pressure (see Step 10, Interpretation).