What are the challenges of switching from single to multispecies fisheries management and assessments? And which trade-offs are most important when dealing with ecosystem-based fisheries? These are two questions that have underscored work carried out by the Nordic Council of Minsters and ICES, as the group has now published its final report. The resulting ICES/NCM background document, written for and now available to a worldwide audience, details a model for the production of multispecies management advice using ecosystem examples from the North, Baltic, and Barents seas.
The new publication outlines how to recognize trade-offs within fisheries whose management covers the full ecosystem, ascertain the boundaries between science and policy domains, pinpoint goals, and communicate the subsequent advice. It also stresses the significance of knowledge about marine species interaction as the backbone for multispecies advice.
As well as stimulating the international debate, the suggested framework attempts to show the benefits of applying such management in the wider ICES area.
Alongside months of ensuing effort, the ICES/NCM Workshop on Technical Guidelines for Multispecies Management in early 2013 was pivotal in the process. A broad cross-section of 42 experts – made up of managers, stakeholders, and scientists – attended the Copenhagen workshop, and the forum represented a rare chance for such open contribution to the project. The participants' input was used by a core group of five ICES experts, which had also convened in the build-up to the meeting, as it got together immediately afterwards to begin drafting work on the report.