Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEAWESS)
The ICES Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEA-WESS) aims to provide high quality science in support to holistic, adaptive, evidence-based man-agement in the Celtic seas, Bay of Biscay and Iberian coast regions. The group works towards developing integrated ecosystem assessments for both the (i) Celtic Seas and (ii) Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast which are summarized in the Ecosystem Overviews (EOs) advice products that were recently updated. Integrated Trend Analysis (ITA) were performed for multiple sub-ecoregions and used to develop an understanding of ecosystem responses to pressures at varying spatial scales. Ecosystem models (primarily Ecopath with Ecosim; EwE) were developed and identified for fisheries and spatial management advice.
The updated Celtic Seas EO represents a large step forward for EOs, with the inclusion of novel sections on climate change, foodweb and productivity, the first application of the new guidelines for building the conceptual diagram, inclusion of socio-economic indicators, and progress made toward complying with the Transparent Assessment Framework (TAF). We highlight ongoing issues relevant to the development and communication of EO conceptual diagrams.
A common methodology using dynamic factor analysis (DFA) was used to perform ITA in a comparable way for seven subregions. This was supported by the design and compilation of the first standardized cross-regional dataset. A comparison of the main trends evidenced among subregions over the period 1993–2020 was conducted and will be published soon.
A list of available and developing EWE models for the region was also generated. Here, we re-port on the advances in temporal and spatial ecosystem modelling, such as their capacity to model the impacts of sector activities (e.g. renewables and fisheries) and quantify foodweb indi-cators. We also reflect on model quality assessment with the key run of the Irish sea EwE model. The group highlighted the hurdles and gaps in current models in support of EBM, such as the choice of a relevant functional, spatial, and temporal scales and the impacts of model structure on our capacity to draw comparisons from models of different regions. The group aims to ad-dress these issues in coming years and identify routes for ecosystem model derived information into ICES advice.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee