Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEAWESS)
reportposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The ICES Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEA-WESS) recently completed its third three-year term from 2017 to 2019. This report describes the group’s progress on the following objectives: (1) to continue metadata compilation for all eco-system components in order to carry out integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) and report eco-system trends relevant to stock management, (2) to update the ecosystem overviews of the group’s two ecoregions, and (3) to explore the potential of models in relation to the previous objectives.WGEAWESS is responsible for producing IEA reports for two ecoregions: (1) the Celtic Seas and (2) the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast. The group has been successful in identifying data-bases across these ecoregions, including retrieving some components (e.g., zooplankton) not commonly readily available at the member institutions. Complete datasets have been compiled for Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay (French side), West Iberian (Portuguese) waters and the Gulf of Cadiz. Integrated trend analysis (ITA) have been carried out for those subregions. The West of Scotland and Ireland and the Cantabrian Sea are data rich regions and efforts are being directed to collect data and develop ITAs there to ensure complete coverage of our two ecoregions. The group also explored alternative ITA techniques to those traditionally used by IEA groups, in particular Min-Max Auto-correlation Function Analysis (MAFA) in the Bay of Biscay. This work has fed into the Workshop on Integrated Trend Analyses in Support to Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (WKINTRA).Additionally, WGEAWESS developed stock cards that showed ecosystem trend information rel-evant to particular stocks; these cards were then presented at the ICES stock assessment meet-ings.WGEAWESS also modified the Options for Delivering Ecosystem-Based Marine Management (ODEMM) methodology to provide guidance for updating the ICES ecosystem overviews (EO) activity-pressure-state diagrams. To do this, we started with the scores assigned by the original ODEMM project for the entire North East Atlantic and modified from there where expert knowledge was available.WGEAWESS decided to explore the possibilities of models in ecosystem based management, partly driven by the positive experience of Workshop on an Ecosystem-based Approach to Fish-ery Management for the Irish Sea (WKIrish). Since most of the group expertise was with Ecopath with Ecosym (EwE), WGEAWESS co-organized a workshop, WKEWIEA, to explore the practi-cality of integrating information from these models and exploring their utility towards informing IEA in the western shelf region.In the coming years, WGEAWESS will work towards incorporating the social and economic di-mensions as well as climate variability in cooperation with other ICES expert groups in order to better align its work with both ICES agenda and EU policy.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee