Managing wildlife-human interactions demands reliable information about the likely consequences of management actions. This requirement is a general one, whatever the taxonomic group. We describe a method for estimating population dynamics and decision analysis that is generally applicable, extremely flexible, uses data efficiently, and gives answers in a useful format. Our case study involves bycatch of a protected species, the Northeastern Offshore Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata), in the tuna fishery of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Informed decision-making requires quantitative analyses taking all relevant information into account, assessing how bycatch affects these species and how regulations affect the fisheries, and describing the uncertainty in analyses. Bayesian analysis is an ideal framework for delivering information on uncertainty to the decision-making process. It also allows information from other populations or species or expert judgment to be included in the analysis, if appropriate. Integrated analysis attempts to include all relevant data for a population into one analysis by combining analyses, sharing parameters, and simultaneously estimating all parameters, using a combined objective function. It ensures that model assumptions and parameter estimates are consistent throughout the analysis, that uncertainty is propagated through the analysis, and that the correlations among parameters are preserved. Perhaps the most important aspect of integrated analysis is the way it both enables and forces consideration of the system as a whole, so that inconsistencies can be observed and resolved.
Bayesian analysis, Dolphin, Stenella attenuata, Model, Population dynamics, Yellowfin tuna
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