Symposium Summary: Management Strategy Evaluation, Decision Analysis, and Ensemble Modeling: Tools for Addressing Assessment and Management Uncertainty

Sponsor: AFS Marine Fisheries Section

An effective management strategy evaluation (MSE) includes defining multiple research and management objectives and associated performance metrics to quantify the effects of the management strategies, a discussion of and detailed accounting for error and uncertainty in the modeled system, the inclusion of a range of stakeholders for defining the issues to be addressed and the objectives to be met, and a discussion of the tradeoffs inherent in meeting the objectives given the results of the MSE. Presenters in our symposium addressed many of these topics, as well as how to project system characteristics robustly and the importance of information on stock status for data-poor stocks. Areas of application included evaluating body condition as an indicator of regime shifts in the Lake Huron ecosystem, exploring the impacts of length limits for crappie fisheries in northern Mississippi, using state space models to examine stock-recruit relationships for Pink Salmon, a Pacific Hake MSE which included stakeholder involvement, exploring the impacts of changes in sampling programs for U.S. southeast coast Red Porgy, an evaluation of several catch-only models and harvest control rules for data-limited stocks, and a study of the Maine lobster fishery which focused on changes in effort levels. Howard Townsend’s presentation summarizing a workshop on uncertainty in ecosystem models raised discussion points on how to communicate uncertainty, appropriate model complexity, moving towards using multiple model ensembles, and what constitutes truth in fisheries science when assessing the performance of model forecasts. Read the abstracts.

—Richard Methot and Teresa A’mar