WSG News Blog

Fishing for the Triple Bottom Line: Profit, Planet — And People

October 17, 2019

A school of Pacific herring.

Fisheries managers typically strive to strike a delicate balance between two, often competing, types of needs: the needs for fishermen’s profits and the needs for the planet. But in 1994, entrepreneur John Elkington posited that true sustainability requires consideration of a third “P” — the needs of the people. In making this argument, he coined the term “the triple bottom line.”

In a new study, an interdisciplinary group of researchers used Pacific herring in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, as a case study for modeling the implicit tradeoffs within the triple bottom line that result from various fisheries management decisions. They found that considering spatial dynamics is a key component of this modeling process — for example, considering the geographic areas of the fish populations, the areas that are important to the various communities of people, and the areas that are impacted by management decisions.

Published Sept. 30 in the journal Fish and Fisheries, the study is one of the outcomes of the Ocean Modeling Forum, a collaboration between the University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy that aims to use models to provide insights on how to best address complex ocean issues.

Read more at UW News.