Advanced course: contributing to fisheries management with EwE

13 November 2014, Room P31 at ICM-CSIC

This advanced one day course presented how EwE tools can be used in the context of fisheries management. In particular, the Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) plug-in was presented. Participants learned how to parameterize and analyse results from these modules.

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


The day consisted of lectures, hands on worked examples, and Q&A around particular areas of interest to the participants.


  • Models and multi-species issues in management
  • Modelling support for developing long term management plans – identifying tradeoffs
  • Tools for evaluating the performance of alternative fishing strategies when taking model uncertainty in to account
  • Assessing the downstream value of fisheries – valuing changes in the supply chain arising from fisheries management


  • Walk-through of new tools for assessing uncertainty. What it does and how it works
  • Evaluating alternative management strategies based on uncertain model parameterisations. Examining and presenting results for group discussion.


Thursday 13 November
Time Topic Resources
09:00-10:15 Prerequisites for using EM for management: Quality control, PreBal, ‘Key runs’ for models used in advice in ICES (SM)
Applications of models in Management (VC)
PDF: Models and multi-species issues in management
PDF: Modelling support for LTMPs
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12:30 Fishing policy exploration, objective function, policy optimization (VC)
Tutorial 5: Policy exploration, North Sea
Tutorial 5 – Introduction
ZIP file: Tutorial 5 – Objective optimisation
12:30-14:30 Break
14:30-18:00 Afternoon program coming soon

Participant requirements

  • To follow the tutorials, participants will need prior experience (sufficient from the training on 4 to 5th) of navigating and using EwE, and have it already installed on you computer.
  • The lecturers will provide tutorial and training material in advance of the workshop. To get the full benefit of the learning you should familiarise yourself in with these in advance.
  • If participants are familiar with R (we used this to handle results), please have it installed. We plan to have detailed instruction before the workshop.
  • Please bring a laptop that can operate Window (i.e. no Mac’s of if you have a Mac please make sure that it has a Windows OS installed and that all the software works on it.
  • Please download the newest version of Ecopath with Ecosim EwE v. 6.4.3 (October 2014) from the Ecopath website and make sure that it works.
  • Please make sure you have Microsoft Office (excel, word, etc.) or equivalent downloaded
  • There will be access to the internet provided in the course room

Recommended reading

  • Christensen, V., and Walters, C. 2004. Ecopath with Ecosim: methods, capabilitiesand limi tations. Ecol. Modell. 172(2–4): 109–139. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2003.09.003
  • Christensen, V., and Walters, C.J. 2004b. Trade-offs in ecosystem scale optimization of fisheries management policies. Bull. Mar. Sci. 74: 549–562
  • Lynam, C. and Mackinson, S. Exposing trade-offs in North Sea mixed fisheries management: ecosystem effects and the importance of climate PLOSOne in review
  • Mackinson, S., Deas, B., Beveridge, D and Casey, J.Mixed-fishery or Ecosystem conundrum? Multi-species considerations inform thinking on long-term management of North Sea demersal stocks. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 66: 1107–1129 (2009)
  • Mackinson, 2012. Annex 5 Report on Key Run for the North Sea Ecopath with Ecosim Ecosystem Model, 1991–2007 . in ICES. 2012. Report of the Working Group on Multispecies Assessment Methods (WGSAM), 10–14 October 2011, Woods Hole, USA. ICES CM 2011/SSGSUE:10. 229 pp
  • Mackinson, S. 2014. Combined analyses reveal environmentally driven changes in the North Sea ecosystem and raise questions regarding what makes an ecosystem model’s performance credible? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2014, 71(1): 31-46, 10.1139/cjfas-2013-0173
  • Walters, C.J., Christensen, V., Pauly, D., 1997. Structuring dynamic models of exploited ecosystems from trophic mass-balance assessments. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 7, 139–172
  • Walters, C., and Martell, S.J.D, 2004. Fisheries ecology and management. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.
  • Walters, C.J., Christensen, V., Martell, S.J., and Kitchell, J.F. 2005. Possible ecosystem impacts of applying MSY policies from single-species assessment. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 62(3): 558–568. doi:10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.12.005