Purpose of the specific contract
The purpose of this specific contract is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis on how multispecies assessment would fit into the scientific and decision making processes within NAFO.
The study should provide clear indication on new management systems developed from multispecies assessment principles. The new management system should be pragmatic with a reasonable balance between complexity and practicality and considering a long-term view of the state of stocks.
Duration of the study
The duration of this study goes from July 2017 to April 2019
Scope of the study
The multispecies assessment framework will be developed for Flemish Cap in NAFO Division 3M as a case study: a highly isolated ecosystem with good quality data and long time series, presenting almost ideal conditions for this analysis.
As a framework the multispecies assessment will be designed to be generic with the possibility of being applied to other data rich ecosystems with similar conditions but also to serve as a semi-quantitative framework in data poor contexts, therefore in all NAFO Divisions.
Tasks to be performed
Task 1: a general overview of the different approaches and most cutting-edge techniques developed to bring the multispecies approach into practice. The different approaches will be assessed in relation to the roadmap for the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries EAF of NAFO (WGESA, 2010). Data and methodological needs in relation to single species approaches will be identified and described. The study will also provide a thorough description of the biological, ecological, fishery and scientific features that makes the Flemish Cap an ideal case study for the exploration of the multispecies approach to fisheries in the NAFO area.
Task 2: An updated version of the multispecies model GadCap (Flemish Cap cod, redfish and shrimp multispecies Gadget model, Pérez-Rodríguez et al (2016)) will be produced, by introducing new data sources and extending the time period covered. Some relevant technical elements, as well as a number of biological and ecological characteristics affecting the productivity and trade-offs between the stocks within the model will be improved.
Task 3: Explore the provision of scientific advice for a multispecies approach in the Flemish Cap from different fronts. As a first output from GadCap, natural mortality at age (residual+ predation, M1+M2) will be estimated and make available to be used as alternative values of natural mortality in single species models stock assessment model currently used in the Flemish Cap (e.g. the Bayesian-XSA cod model). Second a first configuration of an MSE framework with GadCap as operating model will be develop (i.e. a multispecies MSE), that will allow the estimation of multispecies reference points, and where traditional single species and potential new multispecies HCRs could be assessed from the precautionary and MSY perspectives.
Task 4: A first analysis of the socio/economic implications of moving from single to multispecies assessment and management, and the available techniques and models needed to assess the trade-offs resulting of the decisions taken from a multispecies approach to management.
Task 5: Discussion and interaction between scientists and other stakeholders through the organization of a workshop to present the results of the study to main stakeholders and administrations in the EU. In parallel, the results of tasks 3 and 4 will be presented to the NAFO-WGESA and Scientific Council and the ways to integrate them within the Roadmap for the development of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management will be explored.
Task 6: indicate the future necessary steps and research activities to progress in the implementation of the multispecies assessment in the Flemish Cap, and extensively in the area NAFO.
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