Report Management Strategy Evaluation and performance test of the decision- support tool(s)

The mobile demersal gears currently applied in the fishery sectors across Europe are known to have a large impact both directly and indirectly on the benthic habitats and communities. There is increasing concern about these impacts and the aim is to reduce these impacts on the wider ecosystem without compromising the ability of the fishery to provide food or maintain a socio-economically viable fishery. This is reflected in the main policy framework, i.e. the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which encourages an ecosystem based approach, in which benefits from living aquatic resources are ensured ‘while the direct and indirect impacts of fishing operations on marine ecosystems are low and not detrimental to the future functioning, diversity and integrity of those ecosystems’. To that end the CFP proposes a new general framework to manage EU fisheries aimed at achieving sustainability objectives across all three pillars of sustainability, i.e. ecological, economic and social. The CFP also stresses that to ensure good governance, appropriate involvement of stakeholders is needed to implement measures.
Therefore in these regional evaluations of the management measures considered in the BENTHIS project we use stakeholder preferences on ecological, economic and social criteria to assess the performance of these management measures against those criteria. For this we applied multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), a set of formal approaches which seek to take explicit account of multiple criteria in helping decision-makers explore decisions. Different stakeholder perspectives were ascertained by distinguishing between three stakeholder groups: Fishers, Civil society (NGOs) and Government.
This evaluation showed that the different stakeholder groups value the criteria differently. Overall fishers value the social criteria highest and the ecological criteria lowest whereas civil society and the government value the ecological criteria highest and the economic lowest but with each with different relative weightings.
This was reflected in the preferred management measures in each regional assessment where different stakeholder groups assessed the performance of a management measure differently. In the Baltic sea fishers and government all stakeholders agreed that the Nephrops short sweeps performed least while Nephrops creels/trawls as applied in the Danish or Swedish fishery came out as best with minor differences between the stakeholder groups. In the Bay of Biscay there was a clear preference for a change from trawling to Nephrops pots by all stakeholders not affiliated to the fishery whereas the fishers themselves were somewhat undecided. In the Mediterranean the stakeholders from civil society and government preferred the change from trawling to targeted trapping in specific areas/seasons whereas the fishers preferred the change from traditional to novel otterboards. Finally in the North sea civil society had a strong preference for the application of a Habitat Credit System while fishers and government preferred the pulse trawl replacing tickler chain beam trawl.
This exercise confirms that an explicit consideration of stakeholder perspectives is important when considering the implementation of management measures and that a balanced representation of the relevant stakeholder groups is an important requirement for participatory processes to inform decision-making.

How to cite
Piet Gerjan, Soma Katrine, Bonanomi Sara, Laffargue Pascal, Nielsen J. Rasmus, Notti Emilio, Polet Hans, Sala Antonello, Zengin Mustafa, Rijnsdorp Adriaan (2017). Report Management Strategy Evaluation and performance test of the decision- support tool(s). Ref. BENTHIS Deliverable 6.4. IMARES.

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