Whilst much discussion at this year's ASC in Reykjavík will involve the distribution of fish stocks and marine resources, it is the spreading of competition points that will be of more concern to those battling it out in a one-off stock assessment 'fight night' tournament on the night of Tuesday 24 September.
The event, open to anybody irrespective of professional background or experience, will promote the Joint Research Council's (JRC) Assessment for All (a4a) initiative – a new fish stock analysis programme built around speed, simplicity and accessibility, which produces transparent and reproducible results. Removed from high-level strategy and modelling expertise, a4a is more about the democratization of such assessments throughout the wider community of fisheries scientists, bringing benefits such as the handling of quickly-amassing data and information on fish stocks such as that collected under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF).
Kicking off with a presentation and hands-on demonstration of the tool, attendees on the night will then be able to get to grips with a4a themselves before putting their newfound skills to the test in a competition.
"An important part (of a4a) is to demystify stock assessment as a very specialized subject, one which requires a strong background in numerical subjects to run it,' explains Ernesto Jardim, workshop organizer and fisheries scientist at the European Commission.
"For this special session we're developing a web interface that makes building equations similar to Lego constructions. So the "fighters" will set up a model before sending it to the server, which will return it back with summary statistics. They'll have a limited time to make a decision. When done, a score will be given and the participants ranked."
"I'd say that it's going to be the most challenging couple of hours ever," continues Ernesto. "Learning, running, and playing stock assessments in two hours! What could be more amusing in Reykjavík on a Tuesday night?"