Operational evaluation tools for fisheries management options (EFIMAS) (38094)

Project Details


Existing models in fisheries management advice (FMA) only consider effects of overall fishing on single fish stocks, while not taking broader ecosystem, social and economic impacts of management decisions into account. Mixed fisheries aspects where several fishing fleets fish on several stocks in the same fishery, spatial planning, and long-term management strategy evaluation are also not considered adequately.

In response to this situation, managers launched EFIMAS aiming to develop alternative management evaluation tools and management strategies that have broader, multi-disciplinary and long-term perspectives. These include social and economic impacts and ecosystem impacts (e.g. by-catch and discards), besides biological consequences on single stocks.

This is a new way of thinking international fisheries research and FMA, by developing conceptual and comprehensive multi-fleet and multi-stock bio-economic simulation tools and management evaluation frameworks (MEF), being spatial and seasonal explicit. A successful implementation of ecosystem, social and economic dynamics and factors on a spatial scale in the advisory process is a major leap towards more holistic and sustainable management within EU waters and fisheries. MEFs enable higher degree of participatory management evaluation by involving various stakeholders in FMA.

EFIMAS, and sister projects, develop and integrates a set of new and existing software tools and simulation models (especially FLR – Fisheries Library in R), generating a more robust Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework, that allows testing plausible hypotheses about dynamics of fish stocks, fisheries and fleets.

The MEF contributes to a conceptual change and paradigm shift in generating advice and management with entire fleets and fisheries as the central units. Here the basic management instrument is the input, i.e. the capacity of fishing fleets, the vessel efficiency, and the effort (activity). This differs from the traditional output based ICES approach, providing advice on single fish stock catch limit from rather uncertain terminal year stock assessments and under strong assumptions on future total stock fishing mortality (F) without much consideration on factors, creating and controlling F and partial Fs by fleet.

The developed frameworks allow simulating and evaluating, respectively, the biological, social and economical consequences of a range of proposed management options and objectives within different management regimes. They can evaluate fleet and mixed fisheries interactions and fisheries behavior, uncertainties in stock and fisheries dynamics, data collection, assessment, modelling, as well as the advisory management and implementation processes. Being capable of evaluating the relative performance of multiple alternative options the MEFs possess strong capacity in performing sensitivity and risk analyses of consequences.

Managing fisheries in a virtual environment provides more reliable scientific advice to stakeholders: In the same way that a pilot might fly in a simulator before flying for real, the simulation tools evaluates the robustness of alternative strategies and virtual regimes to give more holistic FMA in broader context before implementation. This provides managers and stakeholders a better idea of the consequence of a given strategy or intervention before opting for a particular management approach.

The overall evaluation comprises process evaluation (PE) and technical evaluation (TE). PE focuses on participatory management. Here participatory and iterative scenario-based MEF modelling is used to obtain input and cyclic feedback from multiple stakeholders for different options, and to test the general utility of the operational MEF.

Participants: 30 European universities and national fisheries research institutes with biological and economic expertise as listed under www.efimas.org.

The project was coordinated by DTU Aqua.

Research area: Fisheries Management
Effective start/end date01/01/200431/12/2009


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