Opening keynote: Villy Christensen, Using ecosystem models for management and policy

Session 1 – Advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management using EwE

Convener: David Chagaris

Keynote Speaker(s): Carl J. Walters

Fisheries managers around the world are increasingly being called upon to implement ecosystem-based approaches into policy development and evaluation. In recent years, ecosystem modeling has been conducted to inform management of forage fisheries, evaluate bycatch policies, develop multispecies reference points, improve single-species management, conduct management strategy evaluation, and understand the combined effects of fishing and the environment. Additionally, EwE models have been applied in many types of fisheries ecosystems, ranging from freshwater to open ocean, artisanal to industrial fisheries, and at local to global scales. This session will focus on contemporary applications of EwE in fisheries management. Talks that describe the successes and failures of real-world applications are especially encouraged as are those that utilize advanced EwE functions such as MSE, optimization, and the spatio-temporal framework.

Session 2 – Informing Large-Scale Ecological Restoration

Convener: Kim de Mutsert

Keynote Speaker(s): TBA

Coastal managers are often presented with alternative strategies in order to restore and protect the coast. The costs and benefits of different strategies need to be evaluated in the decision-making process, while these are often not clear. Ecosystem models, in combination with or coupled to other models, can help by providing insights into the effects of environmental change on aquatic communities, living marine resources, and fisheries landings. Different restoration and protection scenarios can be compared to each other and to a do-nothing approach. Large-scale restoration projects often need an environmental impact assessment before implementation. Ecosystem models can be included in this process as well. For this session we are looking for contributed papers detailing research in which ecosystem models have been developed to inform coastal management and assess impacts of environmental change.

Thursday morning keynote: Robert Ulanowicz

Session 3 - Making ecosystem-based management operational

Convener: Howard Townsend

Keynote Speaker(s): Jason Link

Resource managers and policy makers broadly are beginning to consider multiple uses and conflicting demands for ecosystem resources, so a need for ecosystem-based management (ebm) arises. This move towards ecosystem-based management requires a heuristic understanding of ecosystem structure and function. With a shared understanding of an ecosystem, managers and policy makers can begin to understand the potential trade-offs, conflicts, and possible synergies between resource use sectors (e.g., fisheries, petroleum, tourism, marine transportation). Largely, current single-sector management practices limit the ability to address potential trade-offs, which can result in contentions interactions among stakeholders representing different sectors. The ability to strategically evaluate objectives across sectors and consider a range of management objectives, can lead to a more optimal use of resources. For this session, we ask for submissions that describe how EwE is being developed and applied to address ecosystem-based management issues. Presentations and posters may cover a range of use and development of models from 1) applying Ecopath and ecosystem indicators to develop a shared understanding of an ecosystem among multi-sector stakeholders to 2) applying Ecosim and Ecospace to strategically evaluate multi-sector management objectives and plans.

Session 4 - Does the model fit? Evaluating spatial models

Convener: Jeroen Steenbeek

Keynote Speaker(s): TBA

Ecosystem modelling tools are increasingly applied in the context of management advice, policy exploration, and environmental impact analysis under climate change scenarios. The interdisciplinary modelling required integrates a wide range of disciplines - environmental change, biochemistry and hydrology, food web dynamics, and human activities, at local and global scales, and at various time scales. An Achilles heel of this type of interdisciplinary and holistic modelling is input data uncertainty, which propagates and proliferates through the various stages in a model, and may overwhelm significant trends in model results. Because of several compounding factors such as the complex parameterization, their long run times, limited computing facilities, etc., full uncertainty assessments are rarely undertaken, casting doubt on the usefulness of modelling exercises. In this session we’ll explore how the EwE community is addressing these issues, and what can be learnt from other approaches.

Friday morning keynote: Jeff Polovina

Session 5 - Climate change: ecological, social and economic aspects

Convener: Kristy Lewis

Keynote Speaker(s): TBA

The consequences of climate change on marine and coastal systems will be complex, synergistic, and difficult to predict. Moreover, climate impacts umbrella the already myriad of disturbances affecting marine communities (e.g., overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, urbanization, among others). Climate impacts such as ocean acidification, changing species distributions, physiological changes (i.e., growth and respiration), and variations in primary productivity have been well documented. In this session we will explore how EwE is emerging as a primary tool that can incorporate the complicated responses of fish and shellfish communities to these climate induced perturbations exacerbated by the legacy of existing stressors.

Session 6 - What’s next?

Convener: Villy Christensen

Keynote speaker(s): TBA,

Invited presentation(s) only.

Session chairs will serve in a panel and each give a highlight and personal views based on the Conference sessions.

Ecopath is turning 35, and has throughout been curious and capable, gradually maturing to develop a more independent personality. As most, EwE has during the upbringing faced two major challenges: what to do and how to make a living of it. On the "to do" front, interests are clearly going beyond fisheries, with focus on contribution to making multi-sectoral ecosystem based management operational, including for environmental impact assessments. Indeed, the Board of the Ecopath International Research and Development Consortium decided at the Ecopath 30’th Conference that developing capabilities for environmental impact assessment was to be the focus of future development. We will discuss strategies for future developments at this session. The other aspect, making a living, has been the more difficult part. We are struggling to raise funding for developing core activities and keeping the software system up to date with new releases. We are now testing and evaluating various funding mechanisms (notably through professional versions), aiming to widen the foundation for funding and the group of people involved, and will discuss these initiatives at the session.