Workshop on the Use of Predictive Habitat Models in ICES Advice (WKPHM)
The UNGA Resolution 61/105 and Regulation EU 2016/2336 require Regional FisheriesManagement Organisations (RFMOs) and EU Member States to prevent significant adverseimpacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) by deep-sea fisheries by identifying areaswhere VMEs occur or are likely to occur. In recent years, ICES experts have suggested the useof predictive habitat models (PHM) to identify areas where VME are likely to occur in theabsence of documented observations. The ICES workshop WKPHM was therefore tasked withdeveloping standards for data and modeling approaches that could be accepted for use inproviding ICES advice. In addition, the WKPHM was requested to provide some desiredcriteria for models, both in terms of application and presentation that would be useful incommunicating ICES advice WKPHM reviewed published standards for PHM from the peerreviewedliterature and utilised expert opinion from workshop participants to develop a listof recommended criteria that focused on a few key themes in PHM. These themes includedtransparency in the decisions made about the data and models used, for PHM and theassumptions that were inherent in the treatment of these data and models. Furthermore, theyincluded the need for reproducibility of results and clear reporting of key components of themodeling, such as independent variables utilized for predictions. Standards were alsosuggested for communication of model results and uncertainty, so that managers could have abasis for evaluating the information to support decision making. Finally, suggestions on thebest methods to evaluate models, including using independent data sets collected for thatpurpose, were generated.
Future steps suggested by WKPHM included the development of a systematic approach togenerating new models, following the guidelines set out in this report, and a process forevaluating existing PHM against these guidelines, so that they could also be considered forsupporting ICES advice. These guidelines will not only formalize a process for incorporatingnew information, but it will allow ICES to move forward with new and improved techniquesas better data and models become available
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee