Northeast IEA in Action
Below are links to stories explaining where NOAA scientists are employing elements of the IEA framework. These projects exemplify some of the analytical tools designed to support an ecosystem-based approach to management in the Northeast marine ecosystem and serve a wide range of stakeholders, managers, and other end users.
As part of the Mid-Atlantic Council’s Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), the Council completed and approved an initial EAFM-based risk assessment. The Council intends to use the EAFM risk assessment to analyze the highest risk interactions for each species and identify strategies for addressing these risks. A risk element is defined as an aspect that may threaten the biological, economic, or social objectives that the Council has for a fishery. The Council had previously selected a range of risk elements to be evaluated at either the managed species level, the species and sector level, or the ecosystem level. During the meeting, staff presented a draft report documenting the use of ecosystem indicators within the Council’s initial assessment. The EAFM Risk Assessment will be a dynamic and evolving process that will be revisited and updated in future years. The Council intends to use the risk assessment as a planning tool to prioritize future Council work plans and as a research planning tool.
Management strategy evaluations are both a component of the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) approach and a standalone process, depending upon the context. The NOAA Fisheries MSE working group defines MSE as “a process designed to identify and operationalize strategies for managing fisheries that are robust to several types of uncertainty and capable of balancing multiple economic, social and biological objectives". In essence, it is a process to evaluate how well we are achieving our objectives. A typical application of an MSE consists of using one or more operating models that incorporate sufficient complexity to simulate variability in a state process (e.g., fish population, ecosystem or economic dynamics), and an estimation model to perform virtual data collection, analysis and management advice and, often for management applications, a stakeholder participation component.