AZTI has developed FLBEIA which is a bio-economic simulation toolbox describing the whole fishery system. It allows assessing the bio-economic performance of fisheries management strategies before they are put in place. It is built under a management strategy evaluation framework in R using FLR libraries.

FLBEIA is open and free software (downloadable at which covers the whole cycle of the fisheries management process: data collection, stock assessment, advice (TAC or effort based), and implementation. Thus, FLBEIA allows assessing management strategies, from both the biological and economic perspectives in order to facilitate management decisions in the medium and long term. FLBEIA also enables to predict the impact of each management strategy under predefined future conditions. Currently, FLBEIA is being used in numerous fishing areas: Bay of Biscay, Iberian waters, Strait of Gibraltar, Northwest Atlantic, Celtic Sea, Arabian Gulf and Red Sea.

FLBEIA has been used to:

  • Assess the bio-economic multi-stock reference points as a tool for overcoming the drawbacks for the landing obligation in Europe.
  • Analyse the impact of the landing obligation implementation in Atlantic Iberian waters and Bay of Biscay.
  • Evaluate the performance of several alternative management strategies for deep-water species. These species are characterized by long lifespans, late maturity and low productivity. This implies slow recovery from low biomass levels and it is, therefore, important to manage these stocks correctly to avoid overfishing. *
  • Assess alternative harvest control rules for the Bay of Biscay anchovy long term management plan.
  • Develop a decision support tool for mixed fisheries management in the Celtic Sea for regional advice.
  • Evaluate multi annual plans (MAPs) for Atlantic Iberian Waters, Bay of Biscay and Celtic Sea.

FLBEIA is a simulation toolbox which facilitates the development of bio-economic impact assessments of fisheries management strategies

Applicable sectors

  • Public administration.
  • Fishing sector.
  • Marine research centers.
  • NGOs.
  • RFMO’s.


  • FLBEIA is a flexible and generic simulation model adaptable to any case study.
  • There is a full interaction between biological and economic models.
  • Given the modular composition of FLBEIA, each fleet and each stock can be modelled differently.
  • There is available a smart conditioning that facilitates the implementation of your case study in FLBEIA (


  • Multi stock and multi fleet.
  • FLBEIA can support an unlimited number of stocks. They can be simulated using age structured dynamics or biomass dynamics.
  • Within fleet component four processes are simulated: effort allocation, catch production, price formation and capital dynamics (i.e. investment and disinvestment in vessels or technology).
  • Covariates are intended to incorporate all the variables that are not part of the biological or fleet components and that affect any of the operating model components or the management process.
  • FLBEIA does not provide any stock assessment model but those built in FLR frame, e.g. FLXSA, can be directly used.
  • The advice can be generated through harvest control rules (HCR). At the moment there are several HCRs available for TAC-based advice.
  • The model is seasonal, and the number of seasons as well as the season length, are selected by the user.
  • Stochasticity can be introduced into the model via Monte Carlo simulation.
  • FLBEIA has been built in a modular and extensible way.
  • New features are continuously been developed.

Proven track record

  • FLBEIA was tested by a group of bio-economic modelling experts (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission), and all participants considered FLBEIA a good framework for bio-economic analysis to support impact assessments for fisheries management strategies.
  • Scientific papers:
    • Jardim E., Urtizberea A., Motova A., Osio C., Ulrich C., Millar C.,Mosqueira I., Poos J.J., Virtanen J., Hamon K., Carvalho N.,Prellezo R., Holmes S., 2013, Bioeconomic modelling applied to fisheries with R/FLR/FLBEIA. JRC Scientific and Policy Report EUR 25823 EN. 
    • Garcia, D., Prellezo, R., Sampedro, P., Da- Rocha, J., Cerviño, S., Castro, J., Gutierrez, M. & Garcia (in press) Bioeconomic multi-stock reference points as a tool for overcoming the drawbacks of the landing obligation. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil
    • Garcia, D., Urtizberea, A., Diez, G., Gil, J. & Marchal, P. (2013) Bio-economic management strategy evaluation of deepwater stocks using the FLBEIA model. Aquatic Living Resources, 26, 365-379. +LINK
    • Garcia, D., Sanchez, S., Prellezo, R., Urtizberea, A., and Andres, M. 2014. FLBEIA: A toolbox to conduct Bio-Economic Impact Assessment of fisheries management strategies. Ecological Modelling, Submitted.
    • Garcia, D., and Santurtun, M. 2014. Can we obtain an efficient management of northern stock of European Hake (Merluccius merluccius) using survey-based harvest control rules? . ICES J. Mar. Sci., Submitted.
    • Prellezo R, Carmona I, Garcia D. The bad, the good and the very good of the landing obligation implementation in the Bay of Biscay: A case study of Basque trawlers. Fisheries Research. 2016;181:172–85.


  • Dorleta García
  • Sonia Sánchez
  • Agurtzane Urtizberea
  • Raúl Prellezo
  • Marga Andrés

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