The CUPCAKE Incident, or “What INTEGRATION should look like in ecosystem science & advice”

So, in June 2016 I was invited to a workshop in Stockholm to speak on the topic of  “Integrating social and community aspects in Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management: tradeoffs, harvest control rules, metrics”

From the Report:

“Dankel introduced the plenary session to the problem of creating rules that are robust towards uncertainties. Within fisheries management harvest control rules have built in such uncertainties. Building on these uncertainties, managers are then forced to choose an uncertain fish quota. In this perspective, what is EBFM? Dankel argued that EBFM is outdated because this perspective considers only a partial picture. Dankel made an analogy with a cupcake to explain EBFM, saying that the cake symbolizes the fisheries, the frosting is the ecosystem and the sprinkles on top of the cupcake is the social system. As a cupcake, the different parts of EBFM are not integrated. But integration can happen. Like smashing up a cupcake – the process is messy but it can be done. Comparing 10 EBFM with the sustainable development goals, an integrated understanding requires that all of the goals are included. Dankel then introduced NOAA’s next generation tool for EBM, which clearly states that social and community aspects cannot be reduced to a single variable or an algorithm. It must be included throughout the management system. The IEAs, that are a basis for EBM, are now being conducted across the coasts of the USA. Dankel compared the American approach to ICES’ IEAs and Ecosystem overviews. To create EBM we need to surpass disciplines and create something new. So, when doing IEAs in the future, researchers need to ask themselves: What is the problem you want to solve? What resources are available? Who are the actors and what are their roles? What is actually an IEA in the context of the problem you want to solve? In the case of the Baltic Sea you can understand the system from many different perspectives and all these are relevant for marine sciences. To accomplish this Dankel asks for so called Tshaped researchers, meaning specialists that are anchored in one field but still are aware that there is other research out there that can contribute to your field, and therefore are willing and able to seek ideas and concepts beyond their niche. The way forward is therefore to make IEAs for the Baltic in a T-shaped spirit. Dankel ended her presentation by introducing Mary Parker Folett, “the mother of management”, stating that there needs to be time and space for reflection. To create better IEAs integrated solutions are more sustainable than compromises, and also focus on human processes not solely on model output. A couple of questions were raised after Dankel’s presentation; first, a question was asked as to whether the IEAs that have been done in the USA have led to better management? Dankel answered that she was not sure about the results but that EBM is a process and that it is getting better. Dankel emphasized that we cannot copy the Americans but we must develop EBM here, since EBM is place and context specific. Second, a question was asked regarding how EBFM would benefit from gender equality? Dankel pointed out that what we are actually talking about is the need for gender diversity and diversity of thought. Everyone thinks differently and this is valuable for the EBFM process. Lastly, a question was raised about ICES and their need to provide scenarios, but who are these scenarios for and who will use them? Dankel stressed that in stage zero, long before making the scenarios, we need to integrate different ways of thinking. If all actors that should be involved are involved we would not have to ask this question.”

 

The “Cupcake Incident” starts at 6:00 and can be viewed below: