The conference will be held from 10 to 12 November 2014, with the following sessions:

Session 1 – Scientific advice for management: from research to advisory tools

Implementation of the ecosystem approach to fisheries requires that ecosystem models are designed so that their output is made relevant and useful for managers. This session will explore several important questions along this theme including:

  1. What are the research areas where ecosystem models have most to contribute to providing management advice?
  2. What can EwE offer managers as useful and useable for providing advice on ecosystem-based fisheries management?
  3. What does it take to provide managers with the confidence they need to use outputs from tools like EwE models?
  4. What does it take to move from exploratory research tools to giving advice, and are we ready for that responsibility?

We invite contributions (and will promote discussions) that help answer these questions by providing examples related to

  • Processes, procedures and methods for quality control
  • Model validation, sensitivity and performance testing
  • Examples of applications to management and lessons learned
  • Critical evaluation of the usefulness of EwE for providing advice and reflections on what it takes to do better.

Keynote: Steve Mackinson (CEFAS, UK)
Chairs: Steve Mackinson (CEFAS, UK), Villy Christensen (UBC, Canada)

 Session 2 – Informing and planning marine conservation

By exploring direct and indirect interactions among exploited and non-exploited species alike within marine ecosystems, EwE can be used in a variety of ways for marine conservation by investigating implications of different fishing strategies, and spatial and temporal ecosystem changes. Novel contributions are encouraged  where EwE is used as a tool to examine implications of, challenges around, and trade-offs involved in balancing marine conservation (of single species or whole communities), for example by means of indicators and/or spatial planning (e.g., implementation of MPAs) that could inform and support policy decisions.

Keynote: Tony Pitcher (UBC, Canada)
Chairs: L. J. Shannon (UCT, South Africa), Chiara Piroddi (JRC, Italy)

 Session 3 – Ecosystem evolution and challenges for management

Conventional fisheries management is supported by population dynamic models usually based on some constant parameters, such as for instance natural mortalities, thus implicitly assuming a stable state of ecosystems. Presently it is recognized that such assumptions is no longer valid, that ecosystems change over time, and that attributes as organization, resilience, and vulnerability – among others – evolve. Management strategies, in practice, must take trophic interactions between species into account and have to deal with such ecosystems evolution. Thus, knowledge of how ecosystems change becomes highly significant to formulate adaptive strategies to maintain sustainable exploited ecosystems over time.

The expectation of this session is to get an idea of the state of the art, and to bring new concepts, ideas and discussion towards realistic and sustainable ecosystem based management for a changing world.

Keynote: Ken H. Andersen (Center for Ocean Life, DK)
Chairs: Didier Gascuel (Agrocampus, France), Sebastian Villasante (University Santiago de Compostela, Spain)

 Session 4 – Modelling cumulative ecosystem dynamics

Marine ecosystems are subjected to multiple environmental and human factors. EwE is able to include several of these factors (such as the increase of fishing activity, changes in salinity and temperature, the expansion of invasive species, the loss of habitat, etc.) as multiple drivers of marine dynamics. This session will be dedicated to studies and technical developments on how to model these factors and assess their interacting and cumulative impacts on marine food webs.

Keynote: Marta Coll (IRD, France), Sheila Heymans (SAMS, UK)
Chairs: Marta Coll (IRD, France), Sheila Heymans (SAMS, UK)

 Session 5 – End-to-End modelling

Current societal challenges for the sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems require integrated approaches “from physics to fishermen” that explicitly and directly account for environmental, biological, social and economic interactions and feedback. EwE can be a cornerstone in the development of such End-to-End models that will represent important tools for the development of ecosystem-based management approaches.

This session would like to represent a forum for presenting and discussing experiences in integrating EwE philosophy with other complex processes and dynamic models (hydrodynamic, biogeochemical, climatic, socio-economic, etc). The session is expected to highlight technical issues and limitations, but also solutions and advantages in using EwE for setting up End-to-End descriptions of aquatic ecosystems.

Keynote: Kerim Aydin (NOAA, USA)
Chairs: Simone Libralato, Ekin Akoglu (OGS, Italy)

 Session 6 – What next?

At 30 the EwE approach can safely be said to be mature. But where to next? This session is a chance for the EwE community to highlight the things just around the corner, but also to identify what is missing, what is needed, what would be an exciting extension. This will be an “all in” discussion on the future of EwE, encouraging a group discussion on where the software and approach should go from here.

The discussion will center on four questions:

  • How can Ecopath grow as a modelling community?
  • What can users do to make EwE better?
  • What features would you like to see in Ecopath in the future?
  • How these features could be funded?

During the conference ideas about these questions will be collected to further the discussion.

Chairs: Villy Christensen (UBC, Canada), Marta Coll (IRD, France)

At the end of this session awards will be presented to the five best student presentations.