Management Strategy Evaluation

Management Strategy Evaluation

At its 89th Annual Meeting in 2013, the Commission endorsed the development of a program of Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) for the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) resource occurring within the Convention Area. In doing so, the Commission approved the formation of a Management Strategy Advisory Board (MSAB), tasked with overseeing and advising the IPHC Secretariat staff on the Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) process.

The latest progress and documents relating to the MSE process may be located on the MSAB meeting pages.

What is Management Strategy Evaluation?

Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) is a process to evaluate the consequences of alternative management options, known as harvest strategies. MSE uses a simulation tool to determine how alternative harvest strategies perform given a set of pre-defined fishery (including conservation) objectives, taking into account the uncertainties in the system and how likely candidate harvest strategies are to achieve the chosen management objectives.

MSE is a simulation technique based on modelling each part of an adaptive management cycle. The MSE uses an operating model to simulate the entire population and all fisheries, factoring in management decisions, the monitoring program, and potential ecosystem effects using a closed-loop simulation.

Undertaking a MSE has the advantage of being able to reveal the trade-offs among a range of possible management decisions, and should assist our Commissioners in determining whether the objectives should be weighted differently. Specifically, to provide the information on which to base a rational decision, given objectives, preferences, and attitudes to risk. The MSE is an essential part of the process of developing and agreeing to a harvest strategy.

The MSE process involves:

  1. Defining fishery (including conservation) objectives with the involvement of stakeholders and managers;
  2. Identifying harvest strategies (a.k.a. management procedures) to evaluate;
  3. Simulating a Pacific halibut population using those harvest strategies;
  4. Evaluating and presenting the results in a way that examines trade-offs;
  5. Applying a chosen harvest strategy;
  6. Repeating this process in the future in case of changes in objectives, assumptions, or expectations.

Undertaking an MSE requires scientists, managers, and stakeholders to be involved throughout the process. While the scientists do the modelling, managers must offer extensive input. Because of the many steps and the iterative process, communication among parties is critical for achieving buy-in on the results of the management strategy evaluation. 

Related: Harvest Strategy Policy