Overview of Policy-Related Research

Background and Summary.

Effective management of marine resources requires cutting-edge science, the development of effective policy, and strong engagement of local communities. Dr. Tissot’s research integrates biology, management, and policy and examines ecological interactions between habitat and commercially important marine fish and invertebrates. His work is focused on scientific research that improves our understanding of marine ecosystems. In collaboration with local communities,  State and Federal agencies, and a variety of other organizations, he develops and implements innovative solutions to marine resource issues.  


  • Working in Hawaii for the last 20 years, Dr. Tissot and his colleagues have improved the management of the aquarium fishery along the Kona coast by developing a community-based, collaborative research program on marine protected areas
  • As a leader in research on the global ornamental trade he has helped formulate policy and management strategies at the state- and federal-levels
  • Along the west coast he has worked on deep sea fisheries and his research has been used to formulate management strategies for west coast deep-sea habitat protection.  

Major Collaborating Agencies:

  • Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Hawaii
  • Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) 
  • Hawaii State Legislature
  • NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
  • Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program 
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • California Sea Grant Program
  • Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
  • Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
  • NOAA National Undersea Research program
  • NOAA Ocean Exploration Program
  • NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NWFSC & SWFSC) 
  • NOAA Deep-Sea Coral Program
  • NOAA Protected Species Program
  • California Dept. Fish & Wildfire (CDF&W)
  • Conservation International
  • Cascadia Conservation Trust
  • Hawaii Sea Grant

Examples of Policy-directed Work (partners):

  • Estimating impacts of aquarium collectors to coral reef ecosystems (DAR Hawaii, DOCARE, Hawaii State Legislature)
  • Estimating impacts of recreational divers to coral reef ecosystems (DAR Hawaii, DOCARE, Hawaii State Legislature)
  • Developing a synthesis of science, management and policy for long-term coral reef monitoring programs (USAID, World Resources Institute, Conservation International, and the International Society for Reef Studies)
  • Providing key invertebrate data to assist in development of NOAA EFH areas in fishery management plans (NOAA NWFSC, Pacific Fishery Management Council)
  • Writing a technical review as a member of the advisory board for the black abalone ESA status review team (NOAA Protected Species Program)
  • Estimating impacts of bottom trawling to continental shelf ecosystems off Oregon
  • Examining the governance feasibility of marine ecosystem-based management as part of an NCEAS working group (UW, FISH, CCEF, FAO, Tetra Tech, URI, UH, U. Conn, U. West Indies)
  • Developing a draft bill to strengthen federal regulations  on the aquarium trade (USAID, Environmental Defense Fund, Senator Inouye's Office)
  • Summarizing the role of deep-sea corals and sponges as habitat for managed species as a member of a NOAA-sponsored working group (NOAA SWFSC, Pacific Fishery Management Council, North Pacific Fishery Management Council)
  • Technical Review of the Survey Design and Methods Used by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to Estimate Red Abalone Density (CDF&W, California Ocean Science Trust)
  • Working to develop ways to evaluate deep-sea habitat protections while balancing ecosystem services (Pew Oceans, EcoTrust)

Policy-related Publications (Reprints are available on ResearchGate):

  • Tissot, B. N. 1999. Adaptive Management of Aquarium Fish Collecting in Hawaii. Live Reef Fish Information Bulletin 6: 16-19. 
  • Tissot, B. N. and L. E. Hallacher. 2000. Diver impacts on corals at Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii. Technical Report, Division of Aquatic Resources, Honolulu, HI. 10 pp.
  • Tissot, B. N. and D. M. Brosnan. 2001. Long term coral reef monitoring programs: working towards a synthesis of science, management and policy. In: Best, B. and R. Pomeroy, Relevant Findings from the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium: Implications for Coral Reef Management and Policy. USAID.
  • Tissot, B. N. and L. E. Hallacher. 2003. The effects of aquarium collectors on coral reef fishes in Hawaii. Conservation Biology 17(6): 1759-1768. PDF
  • Tissot, B.N. , Walsh, W. and L. E. Hallacher. 2003. Evaluating the effectiveness of a marine reserve network in Hawaii to increase the productivity of an aquarium fishery. Pacific Science 58(2): 175-188. PDF
  • Walsh, W. J.,  B. N. Tissot and L. E. Hallacher. 2004.  A report on the findings and recommendations of effectiveness of the West Hawai`i regional fishery management area. Report to the 23rd Hawaii Legislature. 38 pp. PDF
  • Tissot, B. N. W. J. Walsh, and M. A. Hixon. 2009. Hawaiian Islands Marine Ecosystem Case Study: Ecosystem and Community-Based Management in West Hawaii . Coastal Management 37: 255-273. PDF
  • Christie, P.,  Pollnac, R. B.,  Fluharty, D. L.,  Hixon,. M. A., Lowry, G. K., Mahon, R.,  Pietri, D., Tissot, B. N.,  White, A. T.,  Armada, N., Liza Eisma-Osorio, R. L.. 2009. Tropical Marine EBM Feasibility: A Synthesis of Case Studies and Comparative Analyses. Coastal Management 37: 374-385. PDF
  • Tissot, B. N. Barbara A. Best, Eric H. Borneman, Andrew W. Bruckner, Cara H. Cooper, Heather D’Agnes, Timothy P. Fitzgerald, Amanda Leland, Susan Lieberman, Amy Mathews Amos, Rashid Sumaila, T.M. Telecky. Frazer McGilvray, Brian J. Plankis, Andrew L. Rhyne, Glynnis G. Roberts, Benjamin Starkhouse, Todd C. Stevenson. 2010. How US Ocean Policy and Market Power Can Reform the Coral Reef Wildlife Trade. Marine Policy 34: 1385-1388. PDF
  • Grorud-Colvert, K. Joachim Claudet, Mark Carr, Jennifer Caselle, Jon Day, Alan Friedlander, Sarah Lester, Thierry Lison de Loma, B. Tissot, Dan Malone. 2011. The assessment of marine reserve networks: guidelines for ecological evaluation. Pp. 293-321 In: Claudet, J. (ed) Marine Protected Areas: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Cambridge Univ. Press. Cambridge, UK.  
  • Stevenson, T. C., B. N. Tissot and W. J. Walsh. 2013. Socioeconomic Consequences of Fishing Displacement from Marine Protected Areas in Hawaii. Biol. Conservation 160: 50-58 PDF
  • Grorud-Colvert, K., Claudet, J., Tissot, B. N., Caselle, J., Carr, M. H., Day, J. C., Friedlander A. M., Lester, S. E. Lison de Loma, T. Malone, D., and W. J. Walsh. 2014. Marine protected area networks: assessing whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102298
  • Friedlander, A. M, K. A. Stamoulis, J. N. Kittinger, J. Drazen and B. N. Tissot. 2014. Understanding the scale of marine protection in Hawai‘i: from community-based management to the remote northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. Adv. Mar. Biol. Chapter 5, in: Johnson, M L. and J. Sandell (eds). Marine Managed Areas and fisheries. Vo. 69. pp. 153-204. PDF
  • Munday, E.S., Tissot, B. N., Heidel, J.R., Miller-Morgan, T. 2015. Effects of venting and decompression on mortality and sublethal effects in yellow tangs caught for the aquarium trade. PeerJ 756