An integrated ‘ABC’ toolbox for updating European stock assessments

The Ecoscope partners coding and testing during the ABC for Stock Assessment Workshop.

In a five-day workshop organized by the EcoScope project at the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) in Kavala, Greece from May 1st to May 5th of 2023, members of the Project Executive Board and International Advisory Board of EcoScope were joined by ten partners under Work Package 5: Assessing the Ecosystem and its Components representing various institutions –Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH, Greece), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (Germany), National Research Council (CNR, Italy), University of British Columbia (UBC, Canada), FishBase (Q-quatics, Philippines), Istanbul University (Turkey), and Fisheries Research Institute (FRI, Greece). The team of experts led by Rainer Froese tested a user-friendly interface for several data-limited stock assessment packages, namely LBB, Bcrumb, AMSY, CMSY, BSM, that was developed by Kostas Touloumis (FRI) and Rainer Froese (GEOMAR) building upon previous versions of the methods developed by Rainer Froese, Henning Winker (GFCM, FAO), and Gianpaolo Coro (CNR). The workshop served as a platform for the participants to evaluate and provide feedback on the user interface and functionality of the data-limited stock assessment packages. 

According to Rainer Froese, the new and simplified interface aims to facilitate the assessments of more stocks in terms of their current status and exploitation, thereby making a significant contribution to the sustainable use of the oceans, especially in areas with limited fisheries data.

“Over the years, we have developed a number of stock assessment tools that combine the often limited available information with powerful number-crunching approaches,” says Froese. “Now we have taken the next step to combine these tools in a user-friendly package and make them talk to each other.”

The team of stock assessment specialists led by Rainer Froese (GEOMAR) at FRI in Kavala, Greece.

Athanassios Tsikliras, Coordinator of the EcoScope Project and WP5 leader, highlights that “the initial development of these data-limited methods (CMSY, AMSY and LBB) allowed the assessment of a plethora of stocks compared to the data-hungry methods, and has been proven extremely helpful in southern Mediterranean countries that host a wide diversity of stocks but lack long time series of survey data.” “The novelty of developing a user-friendly interface that combines these methods will allow their use from scientists that are experts in population dynamics and fisheries but lack expertise in programming,” Tsikliras emphasized.

“These methods are very useful for fisheries management in areas with data gaps in surveys and limited time series of catch/landings because they make use of all available information to estimate stock status,” Manos Koutrakis (Research Director, DCF coordinator for Greece) remarks. In addition, Koutrakis says “the new user-friendly interface will bridge the gap between [fisheries] developed and developing countries because it allows the assessment of more stocks in the latter, hence the improvement of fisheries management.”

The new integrated toolbox is called ‘ABC’ for Abundance, Biomass and Catch and will be used in EcoScope’s WP5 to update the assessment of the status of European stocks.


Source: Athanassios Tsikliras and Rainer Froese

About Joann Glorioso

Events Coordinator / Communications & Public Relations Officer

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