The Working Group on Multispecies Assessment Methods (WGSAM) has held three meetings between 2016 and 2018, chaired by Sarah Gaichas, USA, and Alexander Kempf, Germany.
WGSAM is continuously making significant contributions to enable ICES to develop its capability in giving model-based multispecies and ecosystem advice, in particular, on the ecosystem impacts of fishing and climate change. This is a priority area identified in the ICES strategic plan and is consistent with scientific needs to support implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
A particularly important contribution by WGSAM were the guidelines on quality assur-ance of multispecies and ecosystem models intended for advice. WGSAM members have further developed and demonstrated methods for sensitivity analysis and skill assess-ment of complex models that can be adopted by the wider community; and are collabo-rating with Working Group on Integrative, Physical-biological and Ecosystem Modelling (WGIPEM) on a best practices paper. WGSAM has also developed and presented differ-ent approaches for estimating multispecies and ecosystem based reference points and tested them within multiple simulation frameworks. Finally, major progress was made on operationalizing management strategy evaluation (or structured decision-making) integrating both quantitative modelling and stakeholder engagement processes to ad-dress key management questions.
WGSAM executed key runs for the Baltic Sea (Ecopath with Ecosim in 2016) and the North Sea (SMS in 2017). WGSAM has also worked with WGIPEM and WGMIXFISH to identify joint prioritises for further developments.