Petter Olsen (Nofima) and Michaela Aschan (UiT) have developed a tool to predict the impact of different fisheries and ecosystem scenarios. Photo: Rune Stoltz-Berthinussen © Nofima

Project Year 2018

Simulating fishery regimes

 Industrial economics  

How do different fisheries affect the marine ecosystem? A new computer tool simulates the consequences of different management regimes.

Together with European research partners, Nofima has developed a decision-support tool for sustainable fisheries management.
“Norway has one of the world’s best fisheries management systems, which is why experience from management here is important to the EU,” says senior scientist Petter Olsen.
Many of the EU’s stocks are overfished. The EU-funded project MareFrame aims to improve the EU’s fisheries management by involving the fishermen more and focusing on the entire ecosystem.

Testing scenarios

A number of research models have been compared, to provide a realistic picture of what will improve fishing and the profitability of the European fishing industry. Seven European sea areas and one area off New Zealand have been modelled.
Now fishermen, fisheries organizations, companies and governments can themselves test different management regimes and see what will happen to the fisheries and the species in the ecosystem.
The online tool calculates what provides the best results short term and long term. It also calculates how much of a particular species it is profitable to fish to achieve the best possible price.

Clear answers

The researchers have received positive feedback on the tool. Fishermen also become a lot more interested in management issues.
For example, Scottish fishermen thought a large seal population was the reason for depletion of the cod stock. However, the new tool indicated that reducing the seal population would have little effect and indicated other measures to re-establish cod fishing.
“Most of the people we show it to are very enthusiastic. Now we have established a ‘good practice’ for how fisheries can best take care of the entire marine ecosystem”, says Petter Olsen.
The ClimeFish project is refining the tool to also accommodate climate change.

28 European research partners led by Matís, Iceland


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