Project deliverable Open Access

Case Study 4: Marine Fisheries forecasts products (D5.17)

Payne, Mark; Kiær, Christian; van Deurs, Michael; Henriksen, Ole; Pastoors, Martin; Sparrevohn, Claus

This deliverable details work done on the development of Climate Services for use in the Marine Fisheries sector within Blue-Action Case Study (CS4). The work described here builds on the previous Blue-Action deliverable, D5.16 “Report on Marine Fisheries Climate Services Workshop” which identified a set of potentially valuable climate services based on interviews with stakeholders and potential users. This work focuses on developing the necessary knowledge to support these climate services and ecological forecasts, specifically by developing knowledge of the processes that link the variability of the physical environment to biological responses. Once complete, this knowledge can then be coupled to forecasts of the physical environment to yield marine ecological forecasts, and therefore marine ecological climate services.

The work performed was therefore focused on around 12 different strands of work, loosely grouped into three categories based on the biological response being forecast.

Three forecasts of the spatial distribution of species are being developed. For the spawning of Blue Whiting and the summer feeding distribution of Mackerel, solid links to the physical environment were identified. Previously published work looking at the factors controlling the distribution of Bluefin Tuna was updated and checked, and found to be still suitable.

Developing forecasts of the productivity (recruitment) of marine organisms required the most attention, as it is a relatively poorly established field. Two conceptual pieces of work, one looking at a conceptual framework for recruitment prediction and a second showing how to correct biases in fish stock assessments, provided an solid foundation. Work examining the recruitment of Sandeel in the North Sea showed the potential for developing forecasts, although these were driven primarily by non-environmental factors. Attempts to develop herring recruitment forecasts were so far unsuccessful, and did not outperform a persistence forecast, but there are data from the partner PFA to be integrated in the forecast in the upcoming months and this might change the outcome of this report. Work performed by WP2 in Blue-Action has also highlighted the potential for developing recruitment forecasts for cod in the Barents Sea.

The basis for climate services forecasting the timing (phenology) of key events in the ocean was also examined. A good basis for predicting the timing of sandeel spring-re-emergence, based on over winter temperature, was found. Similarly, there is a good base for predicting the migration of garfish and mackerel into Danish waters, for use by recreational fishers. However, attempts to investigate the timing of herring spawning in the English Channel did not prove successful. The main results are summarised in the deliverable text.

Based on these results, the systems where there is sufficient scientific support linking the physical environment with the biological response will next be developed in climate services. This will involve coupling the knowledge and models developed here to forecasts of the physical environment to produce ecological forecasts. The forecast skill of these predictive systems will be evaluated and their potential value to end-users estimated. Finally, these products will be operationalised and disseminated more generally.

The Blue-Action project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 727852.
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