Fisheries management. 2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries. 2.1 Best practices in ecosystem modelling for informing an ecosystem approach to fisheries.

FAO Fisheries Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 4, Suppl. 2, Add. 1.

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries
2.1 Best practices in ecosystem modelling for informing an ecosystem approach to fisheries



FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Rome 2008

CONTENTS

Download full pdf file (847 Kb)


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

ISBN 978-92-5-105995-1

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to: Chief, Electronic Publishing Policy and Support Branch, Communication Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to: copyright@fao.org

© FAO 2008

 

PREPARATION OF THIS DOCUMENT

These guidelines were prepared at a workshop on "Modelling ecosystem interactions for informing an ecosystem approach to fisheries" held in Tivoli, Italy, from 3 to 6 July 2007. The group of experts convened for this purpose consisted of Francisco Arreguín-Sánchez, Kerim Aydin, Doug Butterworth, Villy Christensen, Kevern Cochrane, Andrew Constable, Paul Fanning, Beth Fulton, Phil Hammond, Stuart Hanchet, Mitsuyo Mori, Ana Parma, Eva Plagányi, André Punt, Jessica Sanders, Gunnar Stefánsson (Chair), Howard Townsend, Marcelo Vasconcellos and George Watters. Ms Anne Van Lierde provided secretarial support to the meeting. The Government of Japan is thanked for providing the financial support for the workshop and preparation of the guidelines through the Trust Fund Project GCP/INT/920/JPN.

 

FAO.
Fisheries management. 2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries. 2.1 Best practices in ecosystem modelling for informing an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
FAO Fisheries Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No. 4, Suppl. 2, Add. 1. Rome, FAO. 2008. 78p.

ABSTRACT

Awareness of the limitations of a single-species approach to fisheries management has led to global acceptance of the need to adopt a wider ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) assessment and management. Applying EAF in management requires the application of scientific methods and tools that also go beyond the single-species approaches which used to be, to a large extent, the exclusive sources of scientific advice. Managers and decision-makers must now find management solutions that take into account the wider range of societal objectives that must be explicitly considered under EAF and the interactions in the ecosystem. Ecosystem models, i.e. models that represent a wider range of technological and ecological processes affecting the species in the ecosystem (including multispecies and whole ecosystem models), are potentially important tools for providing this wider scientific information.
There are many different types of ecosystem models and they can vary enormously in terms of complexity. They can be used in different ways, ranging from contributing to conceptual understanding, providing information for strategic decisions through to making tactical decisions, although they are rarely used as yet for the last purpose. These guidelines were developed by a group of leading practioners in aquatic ecosystem modelling as a tool for provision of management advice. They are intended to assist users in the construction and application of ecosystem models for EAF. The guidelines address all steps of the modelling process, encompassing scoping and specifying the model, implementation, evaluation and advice on how to present and use the outputs. The overall goal of the guidelines is to assist in ensuring that the best possible information and advice is generated from ecosystem models and used wisely in management.
The considerable uncertainties in the predictions provided by ecosystem/multispecies models notwithstanding, decisions have to be made and actions implemented to ensure sustainable and optimal utilization of marine living resources. These decisions must be informed by the best available scientific advice and, in the context of EAF, this scientific advice must include ecosystem considerations. Ecosystem models, adhering as far as possible to the best practices described here, will frequently be the best sources of such information and can lead to advice that rests on explicit and principled arguments. In their absence, managers and decision-makers will have no choice but to fall back on their own mental models which may frequently be subjective, untested and incomplete, a situation which clearly needs to be avoided. Ecosystem models are not at the stage where a single such model could be selected as a "management" model and reliably used at the tactical level to provide management recommendations in a particular case. However, the use for this purpose of simple models with an ecosystem foundation could become more widespread in the near future. Such a foundation would be provided by evaluating these simpler "management" models using Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE), where the operating models reflecting alternative possible underlying dynamics that are used in this evaluation process would include a range of ecosystem models.

CONTENTS


Preparation of this document

Abstract

Background

1. INTRODUCTION

2. MODELLING

3. ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED BY ECOSYSTEM MODELLING

4. MODEL TYPES AND ATTRIB

5. BEST PRACTICES IN ECOSYSTEM MODELLING

6. CONCLUDING REMARKS

7. REFERENCES

APPENDIX: Technical aspects of model specification