Sunday, 2 April 2017

ICES Journal - plenty of excellent articles about MSY, fishermen and scientists.

Plenty of highly relevant reading from the latest ICES Journal in light of our impending Brexit and exit from the CFP in some way, shape or form - especially the focus on stakeholders (fishermen et al) and scientists:

Below are the article titles and their abstracts with links to the full article.

To shape or to be shaped: engaging stakeholders in fishery management advice

The purpose of this article is to assess the effectiveness of the collaboration between stakeholders and scientists in the construction of a bio-economic model to simulate management strategies for the fisheries in Iberian Atlantic waters. For 3 years, different stakeholders were involved in a model development study, participating in meetings, surveys and workshops. Participatory modelling involved the definition of objectives and priorities of stakeholders, a qualitative evaluation and validation of the model for use by decision-makers, and an iterative process with the fishing sector to interpret results and introduce new scenarios for numerical simulation. The results showed that the objectives of the participating stakeholders differed. Incorporating objectives into the design of the model and prioritizing them was a challenging task. We showed that the parameterization of the model and the analysis of the scenarios results could be improved by the fishers’ input: e.g. ray and skate stocks were explicitly included in the model; and the behaviour of fleet dynamics proved much more complex than assumed in any traditional modelling approach. Overall, this study demonstrated that stakeholder engagement through dialogue and many interactions was beneficial for both, scientists and the fishing industry. The researchers obtained a final refined model and the fishing industry benefited from participating in a process, which enables them to influence decisions that may affect them directly (to shape) whereas non-participatory processes lead to management strategies being imposed on stakeholders (to be shaped).

Bridging the gap between fisheries science and society: exploring fisheries science as a social activity

Much has been written about the poor relations between fisheries scientists and lay people, but the experience of two field biologists suggests that good relations can exist and have a positive impact on the exchange of knowledge across the “science”—“society” divide. This article is a first attempt to map the contact points between fisheries scientists and lay people and to explore the spin-offs these can have. It presents the results of two surveys conducted with participants at the November 2015 MYFISH/ICES Symposium on “Targets and limits for long term fisheries management”: a real-time Kahoot survey of the audience and a longer, on-line survey some participants filled out following the symposium session. The survey results generally support the supposition that fisheries scientist-society interactions are extremely varied and that much in the way of information exchange and mutual learning can occur. However they also show that trust issues remain in the fisheries management community, but not just between scientists and lay people: fisheries managers and environmental non-governmental organizations may be less trusted by scientists than are lay people. The study concludes by discussing how future studies should be designed and focused and with an invitation for comments from the ICES community.

Towards a flexible Decision Support Tool for MSY-based Marine Protected Area design for skates and rays

It is recommended that demersal elasmobranchs be managed using spatial proxies for Maximum Sustainable Yield. Here we combine escapement biomass—the percentage of the stock which must be retained each year to conserve it—with maps of predicted Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) of four ray species [cuckoo (Leucoraja naevus), thornback (Raja clavata), blonde (Raja brachyura), and spotted (Raja montagui)], created using Boosted Regression Tree modelling. We then use a Decision Support Tool to generate location and size options for Marine Protected Areas to protect these stocks, based on the priorities of the various stakeholders, notably the minimisation of fishing effort displacement. Variations of conservation/fishing priorities are simulated, as well as differential priorities for individual species, with a focus on protecting nursery grounds and spawning areas. Prioritizing high CPUE cells results in a smaller closed area that displaces the most fishing effort, whereas prioritizing low fishing effort results in a larger closed area that displaces the least fishing effort. The final result is a complete software package that produces maps of predicted species CPUE from limited survey data, and allows disparate stakeholders and policymakers to discuss management options within a mapping interface.

Achieving maximum sustainable yield in mixed fisheries: a management approach for the North Sea demersal fisheries

Achieving single species maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in complex and dynamic fisheries targeting multiple species (mixed fisheries) is challenging because achieving the objective for one species may mean missing the objective for another. The North Sea mixed fisheries are a representative example of an issue that is generic across most demersal fisheries worldwide, with the diversity of species and fisheries inducing numerous biological and technical interactions. Building on a rich knowledge base for the understanding and quantification of these interactions, new approaches have emerged. Recent paths towards operationalizing MSY at the regional scale have suggested the expansion of the concept into a desirable area of “pretty good yield”, implemented through a range around FMSY that would allow for more flexibility in management targets. This article investigates the potential of FMSY ranges to combine long-term single-stock targets with flexible, short-term, mixed-fisheries management requirements applied to the main North Sea demersal stocks. It is shown that sustained fishing at the upper bound of the range may lead to unacceptable risks when technical interactions occur. An objective method is suggested that provides an optimal set of fishing mortality within the range, minimizing the risk of total allowable catch mismatches among stocks captured within mixed fisheries, and addressing explicitly the trade-offs between the most and least productive stocks.

Effects of changes in stock productivity and mixing on sustainable fishing and economic viability

Within the new FMSY European paradigm, this paper shows how a combination of changes in fish stock mixing, non-stationarity in productivity, and constraints on unit stock concepts undermine the effective management of fisheries, especially when management reference points are not adjusted accordingly. Recent changes in stock structures, conditions and stock mixing between eastern and western Baltic cod can jeopardize the reliability of stock assessments and of the fishery economy. We modelled how different management, individual vessel decision-making, and stock growth and mixing scenarios have induced alternative individual vessel spatial effort allocation and economic performance by affecting fishing costs and by changing the relative stock abundance and size distribution. Stock mixing heavily influences profit and stock abundance for stocks that have experienced increased fishing mortality (F) levels. Western cod F has increased from a higher total allowed catches (TAC) advised in the medium-term due to the westward migration of eastern cod while eastern cod F has increased from reduced growth in the east. Greater pressures on western cod and decreased eastern cod growth and conditions greatly reduce the overall cod spawning stock biomass, thus changing the landing size composition and associated fishery profits. As a cumulative effect, fishing efforts are redirected towards western areas depending on management (quotas). However, total profits are less affected when traditional fishing opportunities and switching possibilities for other species and areas are maintained. Our evaluation indicates that current management mechanisms cannot correct for potential detrimental effects on cod fisheries when effort re-allocation changes landing origins. By investigating different economic starting conditions we further show that Baltic cod mis-management could have resulted in unintended unequal (skewed) impacts and serious consequences for certain fleets and fishing communities compared with others. Our management strategy evaluation is instrumental in capturing non-linear effects of different recommendations on sustainability and economic viability, and we show that fixed F-values management is likely not an attainable or sufficient goal in ensuring the sustainability and viability of fisheries and stocks given changing biological conditions.

Fishing for MSY: using “pretty good yield” ranges without impairing recruitment

Pretty good yield (PGY) is a sustainable fish yield corresponding to obtaining no less than a specified large percentage of the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). We investigated 19 European fish stocks to test the hypothesis that the 95% PGY yield range is inherently precautionary with respect to impairing recruitment. An FMSY range was calculated for each stock as the range of fishing mortalities (F) that lead to an average catch of at least 95% of MSY in long-term simulations. Further, a precautionary reference point for each stock (FP.05) was defined as the F resulting in a 5% probability of the spawning-stock biomass falling below an agreed biomass limit below which recruitment is impaired (Blim) in long-term simulations. For the majority of the stocks analysed, the upper bound of the FMSY range exceeded the estimated FP.05. However, larger fish species had higher precautionary limits to fishing mortality, and species with larger asymptotic length were less likely to have FMSY ranges impairing recruitment. Our study shows that fishing at FMSY generally is precautionary with respect to impairing recruitment for highly exploited teleost species in northern European waters, whereas the upper part of the range providing 95% of MSY is not necessarily precautionary for small- and medium-sized teleosts.

Link to the full journal here: