Symposium Abstract: Developing a Fisheries Ecosystem Plan for the North Sea
C. L. J. Frid, C. L. Scott, M. F. Borges, N. Daan, T. S. Gray, J. Hatchard, L. Hill, O. A. L. Paramor, G. J. Piet, S. A. Ragnarsson, W. Silvert, and L. Taylor
Considerable effort is being directed in many countries towards achieving sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources, protection of the ecosystem, safeguarding biological diversity and the promotion of sustainable fishing industries. Fisheries Ecosystem Plans (FEPs) are seen as one way of delivering these simultaneous management objectives while matching to the biological realities of the underpinning resources. In January 2002 the European Union commissioned an innovative project to marry together socio-economic theory with ecological understanding of the marine systems under study. The first phase in the process has been the development and initiation of links with the stakeholders to obtain their opinions on their preferred management regimes. The second phase is the characterisation of the biological and physical-chemical environment of the North Sea, which supports the fishery, leading to the development of a conceptual model of the North Sea food web. This is intended to supply a FEP for the North Sea which is acceptable to the stakeholders balanced with achieving protection of the ecosystem. In this poster we present the initial results that indicate that combinations of models can evaluate the ecological consequences of alternative management strategies and the interaction of different sets of fishes with varying life history characteristics. Preliminary data from the stakeholders has been both aggregated (to obtain an overall preference ranking of all stakeholders) and disaggregated (to identify the preference rankings of particular countries and different sectors of stakeholders). The stakeholders appear to appreciate the effort to factor in their preferences into the construction of a FEP and are open to further discussion in this ongoing project.