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3.2 Overview of overall Project Concept, Context and Strategy: Operational Evaluation Tools for Fisheries Management Options

The Challenge: Within Europe many important stocks are declining as are the number of fishing boats and people employed within the fishing industry. At the same time, the management and regulation of European fisheries are becoming more and more complicated. In response to this situation, managers such as the European Commission and national authorities are working to develop alternative management evaluation tools and management regimes that take a broader, more long-term perspective and consider not only the biological consequences of managing fish stocks, but also social and economic impacts, for instance on the fishing industry and fishing fleets.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires long-term management and recovery plans taking into account

  • Conservation status of stocks
  • Biological characteristics
  • Characteristics of the fisheries and fleets
  • Economic impact
  • Sociological impact and feed-back

While changing policy needs require a move from short-term reactive management to long-term strategic planning and the EU Commission is committed through international agreements such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to assure recovery of stocks to MSY by 2015 and through an Ecosystem Based Approach to Fisheries Management (EBFM) to the progressive implementation of an ecosystem-based approaches.

Why EFIMAS and a Fisheries Management Evaluation Framework?

To facilitate the development of better fisheries management regimes, the European Commission, in corporation with 30 national research institutes, has launched ‘EFIMAS’, a large research project aiming among others at developing a set of new tools to simulate and evaluate both the biological, social and economical consequences of a range of fishery management options and objectives within different management regimes.

Virtual Fisheries Management

In the same way that a pilot might fly in a simulator before flying for real, the EFIMAS project develops software tools and simulation models within an evaluation frame that can predict and compare the outcomes of different management options on European fish stocks and fisheries. And instead of only looking at the impact of these virtual regimes on the fish stocks, the project also looks at the social and economic outcomes in a broader, more holistic context. This provides managers a better idea of the consequence of a given management intervention before opting for a particular management approach.

Project Strategy

EFIMAS develops and integrates a variety of modelling tools into a robust framework within which to simulate and evaluate a range of fishery management objectives and options. In particularly the project:

• Use and develops computer based models that will run stochastic simulations incorporating data from selected and important EU fisheries taking into account fleet interactions and economic aspects.

• Compares a range of management options generated with the current management of the stocks and fisheries.

• Compares the performance of a range of management options under alternative management systems and objectives.

Through the development of the framework (MEF), EFIMAS evaluates among other things: different stock and fishery assessment models; different economic-based fishery models; dynamics of the case stock and fisheries systems; uncertainties in the dynamics and in the data collection, assessment and advisory processes; different management systems; and compare these with for example the ICES advisory process.

A review of the current knowledge base and institutional set-up of relevant fishery management systems around the world is used to make the framework flexible enough to include a broad range of options under alternative fishery management systems. This review has been made under EFIMAS and among other published in a book, and this review has informed the development process of the MEF in a dynamic feed-back information process between EFIMAS work packages.

The framework and simulation models are tested in selected case studies representing different types of EU fisheries in different areas, e.g. in the North Sea, North East Atlantic, Baltic Sea and Mediterranean:

• Mixed flatfish fisheries, North Sea

• Mixed roundfish fisheries, North Sea

• Salmon fisheries, Baltic Sea

• Mixed nephrops fisheries, East Atlantic

• Mixed northern Hake fisheries, North East Atlantic in ICES VI-VIII

• Swordfish fisheries, Mediterranean

• Mixed hake fisheries, Mediterranean

• Cod fisheries, Baltic Sea

Stakeholder Participation

European fisheries management and advice is rapidly changing toward a more responsive and efficient system, and increasing stakeholder participation in decision making is an important part of that. Participation brings about changes in the role of science, as well. The developed MEF informs an exploratory, adaptive decision-making process enabling science to play a helpful role even when uncertainty is high. It includes participatory scenario-based modelling to evaluate different options involving input and feed-back from stakeholders, e.g. managers, fishing industry, conservation NGOs and any other group concerned with developing science-based policy. Participatory modelling is not a substitute for using science to set limits, but when limits are needed, this technique can focus on crafting strategies. Also, it can force stakeholders to clarify their objectives and explicitly address the trade-offs implied by various strategies.

Feedback from users has been obtained in the development of the MEF, through interviews and workshops with representatives from fisheries management, the fishing industry, and NGOs. Through such dialogues, the project continously seeks, together with a number of EU sister projects, to give stakeholders greater insight and confidence in the management process by making it broader and more accessible to them.

Contributing to policy development

• EFIMAS provides more holistic scientific management advice to fishery managers and other stakeholders, including robust management evaluation tools and frameworks driven by numerically defined harvesting rules.

• The project develops a mangement evaluation framework of existing and new interactive fishery advice and management models that identify the socio-economic, as well as the biological, consequences of given management decisions.

• The project aims to help restore the somewhat shaken trust of stakeholders by incorporating a wider range of variables to illuminate the decision-making process and make it more accessible to them.

Conceptual Framework: Operating Models and Management Procedures

Conceptual Framework - Box Flow Diagram

Example of principles behind scenario based simulation and evaluation of alternative management options and objectives

Scenario evaluation of alternative management options

J. Rasmus Nielsen 2008/09/08 14:04

 
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