Back to ICES Scientific Reports

Workshop on the Use of Predictive Habitat Models in ICES Advice (WKPHM)


Record created 29/06/2021 | Last updated 29/06/2021
ICES Scientific Reports volume 3, issue 67


The UNGA Resolution 61/105 and Regulation EU 2016/2336 require Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and EU Member States to prevent significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) by deep-sea fisheries by identifying areas where VMEs occur or are likely to occur. In recent years, ICES experts have suggested the use of predictive habitat models (PHM) to identify areas where VME are likely to occur in the absence of documented observations. The ICES workshop WKPHM was therefore tasked with developing standards for data and modeling approaches that could be accepted for use in providing ICES advice. In addition, the WKPHM was requested to provide some desired criteria for models, both in terms of application and presentation that would be useful in communicating ICES advice WKPHM reviewed published standards for PHM from the peerreviewed literature and utilised expert opinion from workshop participants to develop a list of recommended criteria that focused on a few key themes in PHM. These themes included transparency in the decisions made about the data and models used, for PHM and the assumptions that were inherent in the treatment of these data and models. Furthermore, they included the need for reproducibility of results and clear reporting of key components of the modeling, such as independent variables utilized for predictions. Standards were also suggested for communication of model results and uncertainty, so that managers could have a basis for evaluating the information to support decision making. Finally, suggestions on the best methods to evaluate models, including using independent data sets collected for that purpose, were generated. Future steps suggested by WKPHM included the development of a systematic approach to generating new models, following the guidelines set out in this report, and a process for evaluating existing PHM against these guidelines, so that they could also be considered for supporting ICES advice. These guidelines will not only formalize a process for incorporating new information, but it will allow ICES to move forward with new and improved techniques as better data and models become available