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Ecosystem dynamics and fish stocks

Tildelt: kr 20,3 mill.

In accordance with international conventions it is the goal of Norwegian authorities to establish a management regime of marine resources and environment supporting the ecosystem approach. This represents a tremendous challenge to resource evaluation, but the international scientific community has not yet been able to define a common avenue towards these management goals. Most commonly an incremental pragmatic approach is chosen that improve existing single species methods. Thereby the present regime is m aintained in parallel to a development towards future goals. The expected achievement through this approach is questioned. In this SIP we want to develop an alternative and integrated scientific approach to assess key ecosystem dynamics of importance to e xploited fish stocks and demonstrate its application in operational assessment. This brave initiative is motivated by the fact that both knowledge and new technological solution are under-utilised. An alternative approach is important both to release the potential in recent scientific achievement and to act as a corrective to present approaches. This proposal has a clear focus on building bridges that efficiently coordinate model demands and observation capabilities more than it is a modelling or a measur ement initiative. Updated theories related to recruitment, life history, trophic interaction and ecosystem indicators are used as the basis for the development. To make the approach economically realistic, a new feedback loop between model prediction and field-sampling strategies will be developed. The program is scheduled over a four years period and will combine expertise and knowledge across research groups at IMR through a mixture of post docs and experienced scientists. Students will be involved acco rding to needs. The program is of strategic importance to IMR as development of expertise and personnel within this field is critical for operational capabilities in future advice under the ecosystem approach.