To develop an operational framework of socio-economic indicators to support ecosystem-based fisheries management in RAC regions;
To identify shortcomings in availability of indicator data at the required scale and recommend on measures to provide such data;
To contribute to the development of an evaluation framework for fisheries management strategies based on indicators;
To advice on how indicators can be implemented in the North Sea RAC area.
Description of work
The work will take off from providing an overall understanding of the “fisheries system” from a social science point of view identifying the social, economic and institutional drivers of the human behaviors impacting the ecosystem. Based on this overall understanding a detailed “fisheries system” framework will be developed that specifies in greater detail the critical economic, social and other human factors that are at play in relation to the specific fisheries and how they determine the fishing practice in various institutional settings. How the fishing practice translates into landings and discards, will then be further specified. Indicators will be specified that can inform qualitatively and quantitatively on socio-economic system state (reference point and direction) and on drivers for anthropogenic pressures on the fish resources. A recent study on Danish fishermen’s tactical and strategic decisions within demersal fisheries (Christensen and Raakjaer Nielsen 2006) shows that the fisherman often include an array of factors in the decision making process on tactics and strategy as regards fishing place and gear, expectations for time away, safety and comfort in addition to expectations for economic outcome and willingness to run financial risk. Often social, economic and institutional indicators are less quantitative than ecosystem indicators and would need to be treated differently e.g. through narratives to enable a better understanding of the system, and provide managers with information on how to adapt regulations,. Often it may not be possible to generate data (indicators) that allow for precise predictions.
The work will specify the data needs in support of management at the RAC scale (North Sea RAC in particular), including recommendations on frequency for up-date. The work will further assess to what extent the data requirement at this management scale can be met from existing databases and monitoring programs and recommend on how possible missing information should be acquired.
To ensure legitimacy the framework developed will be “pilot” tested with RAC stakeholder representatives. The methodology to be applied to identify stakeholder concerns and preferences and to establish consensus is the analytical hierarchy process, AHP, ( Leung et al.1998).
When pilot tested for operational relevance and applicability the revised framework will form input to WP 5 for possible integration in the Management Strategy Evaluation framework.
The framework will be applied at the detailed operational level in WP 9, the North Sea case study.