The Workshop on the Ecosystem Based Management of the Baltic Sea (WKBALTIC) will work with stakeholders (including managers) to identify issues that they feel need to be considered and would represent broadly inclusive management needs for the major Baltic fish species in the context of EBM.
Once identified, the next step will be to link these issues to broader management issues. Examples of such broader management issues include:
WKBALTIC hope that further broad issues can be developed by stakeholders based on their experiences and viewpoints. One valuable approach would be to identify stakeholder hypotheses: “This species is decreasing because……?"
We will then aim to prioritise research work that can illuminate these issues and hypotheses. Availability of appropriate scientific knowledge and/or methodology to address these issues will be important, and data/knowledge gaps will need to be identified. The potential for stakeholders to help provide information (data) to examine the hypotheses, and fill the data gaps will be a primary objective for the meeting. We aim at the co-production of knowledge and understanding.
In particular, the stakeholders can help improve our understanding of where there are conflicts, where trade-offs need to be made, and where management is not properly addressing issues.
Finally, we will develop a roadmap of future research needs. This will include the questions and hypotheses from above. It will also show us how to adapt our existing methodology, and identify where we need new data, particularly where that data can come from stakeholders themselves – either from their broad experience, or from their activities in the ecosystem.
The ultimate aim is to do better and more responsive science, that directly addresses the burning issues of the stakeholders. By doing so, we hope that this will ultimately promote the acceptance of management advice based on the needs of the stakeholders and that protects fisheries and the ecosystem that sustains them.
Stakeholders should not expect that this will immediately lead to their individual or group ideas or objectives, changing advice or management. Questions and hypotheses will need to be supported by robust science before they can be used to reconsider management responses. But better knowledge should lead to better management. For sure, bad knowledge will lead to bad management.
„Wasserplanet“ by Daniel Freymüller