The work plan of the MareFrame is broken down into nine work packages (WPs):

Produce innovative knowledge frameworks for integrating EAF into fisheries advice.

Understand interactions and institutional settings in order to provide inputs for the design of the decision support framework (WP6).

Identify gaps in the science-policy-society interface in the integration and implementation of the EAF in the European Union.

Ultimately MareFrame will generate innovative insights and tools to integrate an ecosystem-based approach into fisheries advice. The outcomes will include development of tools to simulate the impact on the ecosystem under different management scenarios in collaboration with stakeholders of marine resources. The starting point of this research is to collaborate with stakeholders (RACs) not only because it improves the results of a scientific study, but also since it helps stakeholders to develop their own positions and insights. In most research projects stakeholders are invited for workshops to be consulted on research development without becoming really engaged. The fisheries advisory process is even less inclusive regarding stakeholders as they only have observer status. WP1 will initiate and develop Innovative Knowledge Frameworks (IKF) to establish genuine collaborative research through an effective dialogue at all project stages. Our premise is that a co-creation process among the stakeholders and the scientific community is the only way to support policies that balance objectives relating to economic development, ecosystem preservation, and human well-being. Moving towards an EAFM approach, it is important to establish institutional structures that allow for stakeholder involvement in the advisory processes. WP1 will develop new forms of interaction, iteration and learning to enable co-creation processes within the project. Combining analytical and participatory processes, WP1 creates an arena for stakeholders to collectively improve their knowledge on the basis of the results generated by WP2 to WP8.

Collect and identify new information (at individual, population and environmental levels) to be incorporated into ecosystem models.

Evaluate importance of this information (both for quality control and for significance of impact outside the Population Dynamics (PDY) models).

Define the functions needed to implement this information into assessment models (raw data, processes, likelihood functions, management measures etc).

Identify and recommend areas of future data collection for optimum implementation of the models.

This WP mainly focuses on making the best use of new tools and technologies to create new knowledge. The aim of this WP is to identify, collect, and evaluate information not usually considered for assessment and management, including information from historical data sets. This information will be used to propose novel data and critical process for incorporation into assessment and management within an EAF context. In WP5 the most important issues and available data will be identified for each of the Case Studies. WP2 will then identify all state of art data which is relevant and applicable for inclusion in assessment models or general ecosystem models for the region. These include environmental measurements (such as temperature, salinity), (genetic, microchemistry, tagging studies (e.g. DSTs, pop-up tags), isotopes, fatty acid, stomach contents) and additional novel information which may be identified as important for assessment, including data from EU Data Collection Framework (DCF). Having identified and collated available data, WP2, in collaboration with WP4 and WP5, will determine the most appropriate uses and input formats for this novel data to ensure correct integration into the models. This information will be analysed with the aim of identifying optimal implementation within the models. The integration of this information into the models will depend on the nature of the available data for each CS and the modeling approach chosen.

WP3’s main objective is to provide a database that can store results from case-studies and ecosystem modeling in WP4-5, and provide data back to case studies from other projects where required. This should enable the implementation of a decision-making framework in a fisheries assessment context for various ecosystems in EU waters. Specific objectives will be to:

Establish the data that will be generated by case studies and model runs, and what data case studies will demand.

Define and set up a database system to serve the needs of other WPs, specifically WP5

Write data extraction routines for models and other existing systems to populate the database.

This WP will develop and implement a robust and efficient information infrastructure that will serve the needs of ecosystem modeling experts working on case studies and developing assessment tools. This new database will build the ideas from the database system in EU-funded project DST2. The database here will not only store (raw) biological data (typical for GADGET runs), but also hydrographical and socio-economic data as needed by Atlantis (and several WPs). Also, a separate upload mechanism will be written to upload Atlantis simulation output, or common ICES assessment model output, as if it were data. This provides the facility to use Atlantis as an operating model for all other models (assessment methods) in the project and enables common EwE use of stock estimates as data. The level of aggregation in the database will vary depending on region: In some areas it may be possible to access e.g. raw measurements on individual fish whereas in others only aggregates will be available (as in DST2, various aggregation levels will be accommodated).

Develop Ecosystem Model processes which allow for derivation of the indicators for GES.

Develop common economic and social model processes which allow for derivation of the EAF indicators.

Develop common reporting procedures for model output comparison.

Set up the models for forecasting scenarios to conduct virtual experiments.

Develop a virtual ecosystem in Atlantis for generation of indicator data in data-poor cases.

Four candidate ecosystem models (EMs) are available to the consortium: GADGET; FishSums; Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE); and Atlantis. This WP aims to provide the necessary software and adaptations to allow for at least two models to be applied to each of the 8 case studies. The application is to replicate the processes that allow for the establishment of a computer simulated marine ecosystem, the complexity of which (largely determined by the incorporation of the number and detail of the various trophic levels) is dependent on the particular model. This simulated ecosystem will then provide simulated data for the indicators associated with GES of the MSFD, as well as a minimum set of economic and social indicators in support of the EAFM. The latter will be a significant task that will rely on input from WP1: to consider the social component (as opposed to the rational economic one) needs some consideration of behavioural economics. Virtual ecosystems, including the human socio-economic system, can then be created under which alternative management strategies can be implemented under forecast scenarios as part of WP5. The new information derived from WP2 will also be incorporated: genetics and microchemistry will help to define alternative stock structures and population mixing in the operating models; whilst fatty acid and isotope analysis will dictate the likely parameterisations of the foodweb. Where appropriate, the microbial components can be shaped by new genomics and proteomics studies, which may also calibrate the relative strengths of processes like nutrient cycling.

Implement ecosystem-based modeling approaches developed in WP4 in seven different marine ecosystems within the European regional dimension.

Investigate the effect of fishing and climate scenarios on key ecosystem processes and provide a basis for the development decision support tools in WP6.

In WP5 the modeling approaches developed in WP4 will be applied on data rich marine ecosystems with a long history of fisheries exploitation, as well as on data-poor systems. The ecosystems included in the case studies will be the followings: 1. Baltic Sea, 2 North Sea, 3 Iceland, 4 Northern waters; 5 Southern Western Waters (Iberian Peninsula), 6 Mediterranean-Strait of Sicily, 7 Black Sea. They cover a wide range of ecosystem types, biological complexity (e.g. Baltic/Mediterranean Sea), ecological knowledge (e.g. data-poor/data rich areas) and a large array of management practices, issues and priorities. Applying models to ecosystem with different amount and quality of data will allow investigation of the effects of models complexity on their performances. An additional and challenging objective is to identify new ecosystem-based reference points to evaluate the current status of the investigated ecosystems. The proposed case study approach will encourage the application of EAF in the European Seas. This will be achieved in two ways: 1) by using ecosystem models in different areas to explore the direct and ecosystem-mediated implications of alternative management strategies, 2) by coupling the implementation of an Integrated Ecosystem Assessment to ad-hoc Decision Support Tools in connection with WP6.

The overall objective of WP6 is to develop, test and adapt a decision support framework (DSF) that serves to provide an evidence basis for policy makers and other stakeholders about the trade-off between various management options on a multispecies basis. The specific objectives are:

Describe, prepare and format case studies for decision support work.

Develop various computerised decision support tools that are jointly referred to as our Decision Support Toolbox (DST).

Apply selected decision tools (part of DST) to relevant case studies.

Adapt decision tools in each case study based on client feedback.

Develop a Decision Support Framework (DSF) which contains the DST as well as the data from the cases, sample runs with reports and user instructions, guidelines, scope and limitations.

Use the DSF to support development of iterative management plans.

The DSF is a central outcome of the MareFrame project, and requires close cooperation between several WPs. In particular, WP6 depends on inputs from WP1 (identification of DSF clients and their needs and priorities), WP5 (ecosystem data, models and assessments for each case) and WP7 (evaluation of DSF prototypes). UiT will lead WP6, assisted by task leaders. UIT will strive to ensure an appropriate and timely information flow between WP6 partners and regarding WPs that interact with WP6.

Compare and evaluate the developed ecosystem based models and the decision support system with respect to their suitability to predict ecosystem changes in the regional case studies investigated in the project, and their capability to improve marine policies.

Assess socio-economic impacts and propose how a new integrated EAFM can be implemented in Europe.

Develop an interactive learning tool to facilitate the implementation of EAFM.

In this WP continuous evaluation and comparison is made with regard to progress towards the main objectives of the project (New tools and Technologies, Multispecies Assessment Methods and Decision Support Framework) in order to synthesize the MareFrame approach and contribution to a new integrated ecosystem approach to fishery management (EAFM) in Europe.

The overall objective of WP8 is to develop communication, dissemination and exploitation of foreground, highlighting gender issues, management of IP and application of new training tools and prototypes:

Ensure adequate and wide scale dissemination within and beyond project boundaries.

Develop knowledge transfer and public outreach strategies for each specific target audiences.

Reinforce the better use of MareFrame results, promoting their taken up by policy-makers, the industry and the scientific community.

Effectively measure communications efforts and impact and to ensure continuity after the project ends.

Support the removal of barriers that is preventing more widespread use of EAFM.

Apply the MareFrame new tools for the training of scientists and stakeholders (from WP7) to support the integration of EAFM advice and decision-making for management.

WP8 is the primary building block for complete and effective communication, dissemination and exploitation of the MareFrame foreground (i.e. results, including information, materials and knowledge, generated). Currently there are empirical grounds for suggesting the need to rethink the nature of dissemination. Through the co-creation approach (WP1), MareFrame uses one of the most effective ways to increase utilisation (also to improve the quality and relevance of research) by involving potential users in planning and implementation of the research design; ensuring the continued coherence of the research questions and the answers that are needed. Co-creation also replaces dissemination with participation, as stakeholders will feel greater ownership and responsibility for the goals, activities and successes of the project. The dissemination strategy is focused on awareness (activities and outcomes), understanding and action (change of practice resulting for the adoption of the MareFrame approaches); gender issues will be included as a transversal topic.

WP 9 Management – leader MATIS : Objectives
Project administrative coordination and management, including the organisational administration and financial responsibility for the project.

Preparation, execution and post-processing of major project meetings such as Steering Committee meetings, General Assemblies and meetings with the advisory board (tasks: agendas, invitations, location of meeting places, organization of rooms and equipment, preparation distribution and archiving of materials, minutes and action lists).

Ensure liaison with – and reporting to – the contracting unit and conduct it in a way which complies with the rules and renders maximum support to MareFrame’s implementation.

Monitor the expenses and allocation of the budget and ensure accurate and timely financial reporting.

Activate and maintain a communication framework, appropriate knowledge management, and fulfillment of responsibilities towards the European Commission and Consortium commitments, including gender equality issues.

Organise and maintain the administrative management framework. Responsible for the overall management of the activities, the organisation of major project meetings and communications with the Commission. The Administration Manager (AM) is responsibilities for project administrative and financial management tasks. The AM will be supported by the Project Management Group (PMG). The AM is responsible for collecting reports and financial statements from the participants. Each participant has a representative person called Partner Manager (PM) which will be responsible for providing the AM with the required EU documents. All partners will meet in conjunction with annual project meetings.