Ecosystem based fishery management now calls for a more holistic approach to resource management and to enacting decisions on resource use that are compatible with the goals of maintaining ecosystem health and resilience. Coupled economic-ecological models are a primary tool for informing these decisions. Recognizing the importance of these models, WGIMM explores alternative modelling approaches that bring the disciplines of economics, ecology, and stock assessment into integrated ecosystem models.
Although economic and ecological systems are complex, models are abstractions of these systems incorporating varying levels of complexity depending on available data and the management issues to be addressed. The objective of WGIMM is to assess the pros and cons of increasing model complexity to incorporate linkages between ecosystem components and processes.
While more complex models may provide greater insight into how management decisions and human actions propagate through the ecosystem and impact the value of ecosystem services, developing and setting parameters for them demands more resources. Such models also tend to require trade-offs, for example the inability to quantify uncertainty or model human behaviour as accurately as can be done with individual fishery models.