The Working Group on Social Indicators (WGSOCIAL) seeks to improve the integration of social sciences in ICES Ecosystem Overviews (EOs) and Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) through the development of culturally relevant social indicators. WGSOCIAL has identified five key issues regarding development of social indicators: 1. expand social science capacity within ICES through coordination; 2. identify and report on culturally relevant social indicators and data gaps; 3. explore approaches to trade-off analysis in EOs and IEAs; 4. assess and report on social and cultural significance of commercial fishing in ICES area; and 5. coordinate use of social indicators into a framework for Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM).
To address social science capacity, WGSOCIAL examined broadly the social dimension of fishing and identified potential interest within ICES. This led to coordination with other working groups (Working Group on Economics (WGECON) and Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEAWESS)) and formal interactions to leverage interest in so-cial dimensions to define relevant qualitative and quantitative approaches. WGSOCIAL made connections with a number of relevant entities outside ICES, including: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), The North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and The Centre for Maritime Research (MARE).
WGSOCIAL identified key social indicators and data gaps for selected ICES Member Countries with recommendations for approaches to close the gaps. WGSOCIAL and WGEAWESS worked collaboratively to develop a case study for the use of social fishing data in the Celtic Seas EO. WGSOCIAL has also introduced a framework for developing social indicators that can be appli-cable to future pandemics or disasters; this framework was presented during an ICES seminar on COVID-19 impacts. WGSOCIAL has begun working on the definition and context of trade-offs and trade-off analysis in the social context of fisheries.
To assess social and cultural significance of commercial fishing, WGSOCIAL is advancing five case studies in five ICES Member Countries: United States, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, and Sweden. Each case study tackles a different approach with a different context. We identified place-based social indicators derived from census data and examine how they can be applied in three settings: large continental coastline, regional fisheries, and contiguous coastline. Two case studies focus on communities of practice and historical connection of societies to fishing.
To support integrated socio-ecological evaluations in EBM, WGSOCIAL has contributed to the development of a framework for collective reporting of social, economic and ecological data. This work will continue in collaboration with WGECON with whom several parallel Terms of Reference are shared.