Nations are concerned about fish
stocks and marine ecosystems, not least because they can contribute to human
wellbeing. There natural resources therefore have an economic value. The
economic dimension should be an integral part of science and advice regarding the
use and conservation of marine resources.
Demand to address economics is
increasing, but ICES does not currently engage many economists or address
economic issues in many member countries. The efforts of the Strategic
Initiative on the Human Dimension (SIHD) have helped raise the profile of
economics recently, but its efforts are not generally supported by the expert groups.
Further, none of the existing groups that address economic issues focus on
economic metrics or core economic analyses required in parts of the ICES
network and for advice.
Many recent meetings have concluded
that there is need to expand engagement, especially the “Understanding marine
socioecological systems” (MSEAS) conference. Other drivers include Blue Growth,
maximum economic yield management, and a desire to understand economic
consequences of human-induced changes in the sea. There is also recognition that
it would be desirable to add economic metrics to ICES ecosystem overviews and
better recognize people and their livelihoods as part of the ecosystem. In the
longer term, potential overviews of aquaculture activity will also require
WGECON was established
to start addressing these needs, including bringing fisheries economics into
ICES science and advice. Tasks include mapping current work and identifying
future needs – considering links with international organizations like IIFET, NAAFE, and EAFE – reporting on
data gaps that point to priorities for longer-term data collection, research,
institutional needs, and training (and proposing systems to collect missing data),
reporting on the information flow needed to provide trade-off analysis of
fishing impacts and ecosystem services, and assessing the economic significance
of commercial fishing for selected coastal regions in the ICES area.
meet at the ICES Secretariat, 11–15 June 2018