The correlation between spatial distribution of fisheries and resources – integrated spatial and bio-economic fisheries management evaluation (MSPTOOLS)

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To achieve the goals of the EU Common Fishery Policy (EU CFP) of ecological and economic sustainable fishery and to meet the demands for protection of sensitive habitats under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (EU MSFD), as well as to meet the demands from other marine sectors on occupation of specific sea areas for other uses under the EU Marine Spatial Planning Directive (EU MSPD), it is necessary to establish adequate management strategy evaluation (MSE) tools to evaluate the impacts of the different uses of the sea in a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral context. Such tools are needed to evaluate scenarios of different management strategies in order to inform managers and stakeholders about the impacts and relative performance of different management options in achieving the policy objectives. This demands implementation of MSE tools which encompass the dynamic variability in distribution and abundance of fish resources with high resolution in time and space. Also, this demands integration of bio-economic MSE tools which can evaluate fishing patterns and fisher’s decision making, i.e. human behaviour, in allocating their fishing effort with high resolution in time and space. Consequently, these tools must be highly spatial explicit and enable small scale time specific resolution in order to efficiently and realistically evaluating the integrated biological and economic effects of spatial management, and contribute to improving spatial management strategies also taking into account the footpring of the marine capture sector including energy use and efficiency to catch the available fishery resources.

The MSPTOOLS project provides new and improved quantitative methods for evaluating stock abundances and distributions with high resolution in time and space by integrating different types of quantitative information as well as by linking biological and bio-economic models and evaluation tools. This has involved development of better tools, methods and integrated models to describe the resources, the fisheries and sensitive habitats/species distribution in relation to each other and identify sustainable fishing areas and conservation areas.

The model developments under the project have resulted in a row of manuscripts published and submitted to high ranking scientific peer-reviewed journals and symposia, and those manuscripts are summarised in the present report with proper reference to the main manuscripts. The first summary highlight the main results that were obtained in Rufener et al. (2019a;b) which describes a statistical framework (hereafter LGNB) that was developed to combine commercial fisheries and scientific survey data, to ultimately improve the understanding of the spatio-temporal abundance dynamics of marine harvested species. This framework served, in fact, as the main basis for all other MSPTOOLS work packages. The second summary presents preliminary results to an economic extension that was included in the proposed framework where there was made coupling of a Data Development Analysis (DEA) to the LGNB model in order to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the commercial fisheries and scientific survey, with respect to their sampling size and accuracy in estimating abundance trends. Detailed results of this summary are reported in Rufener et al. (In Prep.1). The third summary provides the methodology and outline of the coupling process between the LGNB and the bio-economic management strategy evaluation tool DISPLACE. This, furthermore, includes a critical commenting on the main hurdles encountered in this process, and how this will be used to investigate the actual benefit of the coupled LGNB-DISPLACE framework within a set of hypothetical management scenarios.
Further results of this summary are stated in Rufener et al. (In Prep.2). The fourth summary presents the dissemination of the second and third MSPTOOLS working tasks at the annual ICES Working Group on Spatial Fisheries Data (ICES WGSFD) meeting, and how the working group could benefit from the LGNB-DISPLACE framework. Finally, the fifth summary presents an initial pilot study under the MSPTOOLS project to combine fishery-independent research survey information on catch rates as well as commercial fishery catch and effort information from the targeted Danish Norway pout fishery in integrated analyses with very high spatial resolution to evaluate spatial fisheries management measures in form of a specific fishing closure. The results of this summary is published in ICES Journal of Marine Science (Bigné et al. 2019). 
The model improvements provided by the project has a high impact and news-value to both the current and future advisory and scientific stock evaluation development work within the scientific and management advisory communities under the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES). As such the models, their improvements and their implementation provides significant new fisheries and marine spatial management scientific knowledge, as well as improved management advisory methods, directly to and relevant also for the Danish fisheries industry and all stakeholders within the fisheries sector besides the ICES communities. 
The MSPTOOLS work has to high extent been targeted towards model application and implementation of the methodological developments made under the project through the ICES management advisory system and community, as well as the ICES scientific community and network. The project has as such contributed significantly to a row of ICES methodological development working groups such ICES WGSFD, ICES WGFBIT, ICES WKTRADE2 and ICES WGECON, as well as provided contributions to major ICES assessment working groups such the ICES WGNSSK with published pilot studies. Under those ICES working groups, the method developments under the MSPTOOLS project have been directly presented, evaluated and discussed among other through direct project (financed) participation in those working groups. This has also included provision of specific recommendations regarding future data calls, methodological further developments and directions, application to management advice, as well as management strategies in general under ICES according to important stocks, habitats and fisheries (among other for Danish fishery).
Furthermore, the implementation of the models have been affiliated further through MSPTOOLS contributions to other EU projects covering the EU-COFASP ECOAST and EU-HELCOM ACTION projects, and not least conducting a full PhD Study co-financed between MSPTOOLS (1 year), EU-COFASP ECOAST (1 year) and a DTU Aqua internal PhD project (1 year) on further development of statistical models for coupling of commercial fishery and research survey data to describe fish stock distribution and abundance surfaces, as well as further development of a bio-economic fisheries model, in order to link the two models. This has involved direct cooperation between those projects and several contributions from the MSPTOOLS project to those projects with input to methodological reviews and improved methods. As such, the MSPTOOLS project has also been further implemented and disseminated through the international expert networks working under these international research projects, as well as implementation of the model developments under MSPTOOLS in the work conducted under those research projects.
There has been conducted three project workshops held in cooperation between the EMFF MSPTOOLS and EMFF ManDaLiS projects. One of the workshops was international and was held in association with and just after an International Conference Special Session: IIFET Conference, Seattle, USA, July 2018, (IIFET 2018 International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, This Special Open Session was directly arranged by the MSPTOOLS and ManDaLiS Projects with invitation of stakeholders and including stakeholder perspectives. Besides initiative taking, planning, arranging, organizing, coordinating, announcing, leading and carrying through this special session directly under the MSPTOOLS and ManDaLiS Projects the projects produced the session abstract and a full scientific publication reporting of the outcomes of the session (Nielsen et al., 2018): In accordance with several of the stakeholder perspectives and suggestions from the above workshops and the IIFET session there has directly in relation to the MSPTOOLS project been produced a follow up research project proposal and application (NORDFO) submitted to the EMFF project call in spring 2019. This project proposal has had a positive evaluation and is for the time being placed as number one at the waiting list for funding under the EMFF in 2019 for which final decision is pending. 
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDTU Aqua
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7481-278-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesDTU Aqua-rapport

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