Identifying the weakest link: Simulating adaptive management of the reintroduction of a threatened fish

Andrew R. Bearlin, E. S.G. Schreiber, Simon J. Nicol, A. M. Starfield, Charles R. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


As part of an ongoing program of management for a critically endangered fish, we explored adaptive management as a method to overcome pervasive uncertainty regarding the reintroduction of trout cod (Maccullochella macquariensis Cuvier). We simulated the entire adaptive management cycle to explore the suitability of the approach for guiding threatened species management and to identify problems and barriers to "learning by doing". During the planning phase, a number of compromises were identified between specification of goals and objectives, the available management options, and current monitoring capacity. Undertaking a simulation of the implementation of alternate adaptive approaches to this reintroduction provided a number of insights into adaptive management in general. First, identifying the weak link in the process of inference emphasized the need to consider whether goals and objectives are achievable and meaningful and whether they complement monitoring and (or) any other limitations of the system. Second, in natural resource management, it is crucial to negotiate objectives in the light of what one can measure. Third, although there are lessons to be learned from each stage of the adaptive management cycle, there is value in simulating the entire adaptive management cycle, including management actions, monitoring, and the states of the system that lead to management intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1716
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


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