ISSN 10630740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2013, Vol. 39, No. 7, pp. 455–473. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2013.
Original Russian Text © V.P. Shuntov, O.S. Temnykh, 2013, published in Izvestiya TINRO.
In the last 2 decades, the term “ecosystem
approach” has become habitual and even fashionable.
It is used when certain nature conservation topics,
problems of the rational use of nature; biological
resource management and the state, dynamics, and
forecasts of these resources; and other similar issues
are discussed. This is logical and legally grounded.
Meanwhile, such terminological (and semantic) issues
as “ecosystem fishery management,” “ecosystem
strategy for bioresource assessment,” “the main issue
of ecosystem bioresource management: biodiversity
conservation,” etc. can be accepted only with a long
stretch of the imagination (and even then, hardly).
Wordings such as these show a simplified view of com
plex natural phenomena and processes, which are
even more complicated due to the growing anthropo
genic impacts on all the spheres of Earth.
The 21st century is considered to be the age of ecol
ogy. Many of us probably have become used to this and
now easily call biocoenological studies, even local
ones, study of ecosystems. It is obvious that a complex
(ecosystem) study of any component of the ecosystem
is not a study of the ecosystem as a whole, with all its
living and nonliving constituents. Studying the eco
system as a totality of its components is a much more
difficult task. Even determination of the boundaries
and degree of openness of an ecosystem is a large prob
lem, to say nothing of its multicomponent structure
and corresponding functional relationships.
The topic of our article is more definite, as shown
by its title. Owing to the lack of even a relative unity of
opinions on the ecosystem approach to the study and
management of biological resources of sea and ocean
that exists currently, it is reasonable to dwell first on
the circumstances of the appearance and development
of this problem.
The History of the Development and Formation
of this Problem
The necessity of protection, regulation, rational
use, and forecasts of biological resources (marine and
terrestrial) became evident in the early 20th century,
and even much earlier in some cases. This implied var
ious bans, restrictions, and observance of rules for
Illusions and Realities of the Ecosystem Approach to the Study
and Management of Marine and Oceanic Biological Resources
V. P. Shuntov and O. S. Temnykh
Pacific Research Fisheries Center, Vladivostok, 690091 Russia
Received March 12, 2013
—The scientific and applied problem of the ecosystem approach to the management of marine bio
logical resources arose during the last quarter of the 20th century as a component of the Rational Nature Use
Concept. This occurred mostly because the existing fishery rules and concepts of the optimum yield theory,
which were introduced in the practice of fishery regulations, have proven to be insufficiently effective to con
serve biological resources and provide stability of the fishery resource base. The ecosystem approach to bio
logicalresource management implies a change of the autecological studies of commercial stock units (pop
ulations) and the managerial singlespecies models for the sustainablesized management, taking the impacts
of the fishery on marine ecosystems into account, as well as those of marine ecosystems on the fishery. At
present, the ecosystembased biologicalresource management includes a complex of ecological topics and
issues, such as biodiversity conservation, effect of climate changes, sustainability of stocks and communities,
interspecies relationships, multispecies fishery, conservation of rare species, protection of especially impor
tant water bodies and landscapes, biotope degradation, antipollution measures, invasive species, ranching
aquaculture, genetic diversity, etc. The main current problem, besides insufficient knowledge of many of
these issues, is how to practically integrate such a large number of parameters into the management system.
Thus, the complicated and longterm problem of ecosystem management of marine biological resources
should be solved stepbystep, following the progress in the technical capabilities and concepts of natural pro
cesses. As well, certain betterstudied elements of the ecosystem approach should be implemented first in the
practice of management, while taking the regional specifics into account.
: forecast, ecosystem approach, marine biological resources, biocoenoses, nekton