International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the North Sea (WGINOSE).pdf (13.92 MB)

Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the North Sea (WGINOSE)

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posted on 2023-11-06, 09:03 authored by ICESICES

The Working Group on Integrated Assessment of the North Sea (WGINOSE) aims to provide a holistic analysis of the present and future status of the North Sea Ecosystem and the human activities therein. Analysis is split among 14 strata since the North Sea is a diverse ecosystem spanning the shallows of the Southern North Sea banks to the deeps of the Norwegian Trench.

State-of-the-art statistical methods for trend analysis have been performed on time-series data spanning 35 years (between 1984–2022) with two different methods. In addition, a flagged observation (FO) analysis has been performed. The overall picture is that herring and cod show a downward trend in most subareas, while plaice, mackerel and sprat have an upward one. The total biomass of zooplankton is upward in areas Utsira, German Bight and Norwegian Trench, and downward in the Fladen area. The FO analysis give several occasions where the fish stocks are above the estimated trend in the period 2020–2022, and a few that is below. A lack of consistent datasets for oceanography suggest that next year that analysis will be based on model-data (Copernicus).

An interactive map of human activities was developed and presented the first time in 2020, and further updated in 2021 with more layers. All data are obtained from The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet). Procedures for periodic update are documented and published. The plan is to update the pressure maps every third years, in time for revision of the Greater North Sea ecosystem overview.

A paper has been published in Frontiers in Marine Science which explores the utility of Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) and conceptual models developed by WGINOSE and others for the North Sea (Olsen et al., 2023). Information gained from a series of workshop with stakeholder’s engagement developing qualitative (mental) models for different North Sea strata, showed the potential of contributing to integrated ecosystem assessment (IEAs) to facilitate the pathways towards an ecosystem-based management advice.

The Ecosystem Overview of the Greater North Sea was updated in 2022 following the new structure (ICES 2022). The overview concluded that the greatest impact risk is caused by fishing followed by shipping.

WGINOSE will work toward the operationalization of the strata specific ecosystem trend analysis including the integration of indicators of ecosystem state and function including information generated from models output; and provide the best available science for quantifying and evaluate trade-offs between different human activities and ecosystem components and services.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Scientific Reports





Contributors (Editors)

Andrea Belgrano; Andrew Kenny; Morten Skogen

Contributors (Authors)

Andrea Belgrano; Tonne Falkenhaug; Gayantonia Franze; Eirini Glyki; Katell Hamon; Ida-Maja Hassellöv; Ruud Jongbloed; Adrian Judd; Andrew Kenny; Christopher Lynam; Inigo Martinez; Claire Mason; Arina Motova; Erik Olsen; Koen Parmentier; Gerjan Piet; Camilla H. Scharff-Olsen; Morten Skogen; Hiroko Solvang; Jesper Stage; Jacqueline Tamis; Maciej Tomczak; Jan Vanaverbeke; Rebecca von Hellfeld; Henning Wehde



Recommended citation

ICES. 2023. Working Group on Integrated Assessments of the North Sea (WGINOSE). ICES Scientific Reports. 5:72. 95 pp.