ICES Annual Science Conference 2019

Theme session F

Management objectives, trade-offs and strategies in a changing ocean

Tuesday, 10 September
13:30 - 18:00
Room H2

Thursday, 12 September
13:00 - 15:00
Room H2

The key elements in our theme session will be: 

  • the development of system-wide management objectives through indicators
  • exploring the risks and returns of different management procedures
  • the critical evaluation of adaptive management approaches that recognize and respond to environmental changes on different time-scales

​Global marine ecosystems and the fisheries they support are experiencing a variety of anthropogenic-driven changes such as climate change, aquaculture, and energy resource extraction. The main challenge posed by these changes adapting management strategies to meet societal, economic, and conservation objectives in an uncertain future. Managing such complex system dynamics requires multidisciplinary input and integrative methods in order to: 

  1. define socio-economic and ecological management objectives
  2. understand key trade-offs
  3. evaluate management strategies that can meet multiple, and sometimes conflicting, objectiv​​​es 

Socio-economic and ecological indicators are used in marine policy operations by a number of countries, incorporating human dimensions and ecosystem status. These indicators have a wide range of uses in frameworks, assessments, reference points, modelling, and marine strategy evaluations. Exploration of both socio-economic and ecological indicators together to inform decision-making has, however, been difficult.

Management objectives lead to trade-offs between the conflicting pressures of risk and reward, fleets, stocks, jobs, profits, environmental aspirations, and national interests in order to make balanced management decisions. There is now a growing body of literature from within and outside fisheries involving complex system modelling, on communicating risks and trade-offs under uncertainty, and on the development of visual and interactive tools for management.

Management strategy evaluation (MSE) provides a quantitative way of evaluating the performance of alternative management strategies while accounting for different sources of uncertainty. Through MSE the ecological, economic, and sociological trade-offs inherent in natural resources management can be quantified. It can be a tool to test the robustness of management actions under a range of potential responses, for both tactical management and strategic planning. 

Presentations for this session will come from a number of disciplines (social sciences, economics, ecology, governance, etc.) and this session will facilitate open discussion on multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary work. 

Contributions are invited on:

  • The development of quantitative management objectives for ecosystem based (fishery) management
  • The use of management strategy evaluation (MSE) to address multiple management objectives, or to inform longer term strategic decisions in fisheries managements in a changing climate
  • The development or uses of indicators or tipping points
  • The quantitative and qualitative modelling of whole socio-ecological systems
  • The modelling and application of uncertainty and risk in marine systems
  • Novel visualization tools or other ways of communicating uncertainty/risk to stakeholders and managers


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Jamie Tam ​(Canada)
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Theme session F

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