The Working Group on Fisheries-induced Evolution (WGEVO) strives to (i) assemble and review empirical evidence of fisheries-induced evolution and its consequences for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable exploitation of marine species within an ecosystem context, (ii) apply and extend the framework for evolutionary impact assess-ments, and (iii) develop scientific and methodological tools to monitor and respond ap-propriately to risks to biodiversity and sustainable exploitation posed by fisheries-induced evolution, with a particular emphasis on making these tools readily available for a broader range of scientists and managers. From 2013 to 2015, WGEVO worked on three main projects.
Firstly, it produced an overview of the expected individual-, population-, and fishery-level consequences of fisheries-induced evolution and of their impacts on reference points for fisheries management. Reference points used under the MSY approach and the precautionary approach, as employed in the advice by ICES assessment working groups, were specifically addressed.
Secondly, WGEVO developed a general framework for assessing the management impli-cations of fisheries-induced evolution through Evolutionary Impact Assessments (EvoIAs). These allow evaluating the consequences of fisheries-induced adaptive change for stakeholder utilities and for current management objectives. The EvoIA framework was then applied to North Sea plaice as a first case study.
Finally, WGEVO developed a general framework for assessing fisheries-induced selec-tion pressures. R scripts for estimating (i) input parameters and (ii) fisheries-induced selection pressures have been developed together with a user manual for dissemination within the ICES community and the wider scientific community. This framework has now already been applied to 31 exploited stocks and further estimates of fisheries-induced selection pressures are in progress for a range of additional stocks.
These outcomes have been disseminated through three peer-reviewed publications (Heino et al. 2013; Laugen et al. 2014; Mollet et al. 2015; see full references in Section 4), the organization of a dedicated theme session at the 2014 ICES ASC (Theme Session E “Stocks in flux: From selection pressures via phenotypic and genetic adaptive responses to impacts on ecosystem service”), two oral contributions to this Session (Matsumura et al. 2014; Mollet et al. 2014), and a poster (Heino et al. 2014).
The working group suggests that continuing WGEVO for a three-year term is advisable. One benefit will be the completion of the ongoing work on systematically estimating fisheries-induced selection pressures across a large number of exploited stocks.