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Socio economic effects of management measures of the future CFP

Final Report Summary - SOCIOEC (Socio economic effects of management measures of the future CFP)

Executive Summary:
In the EU impact assessments are regularly conducted to assess environmental, social and economic impacts of new regulations. The EU FP 7 project SOCIOEC was conducted with two main objectives: assessment of the management measures of the new basic regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and improvement of the methodology of impact assessments.

This summary report describes the main objectives of the project, some of the results, the potential impacts and the main dissemination activities. In general the project achieved most of its objectives. In some cases the project participants needed to adjust the project work due to the late adoption of the new CFP. A prominent example was the new regulation on a landing obligation. Due to the importance of this new instrument the project participants put additional effort into the assessment of the new discard ban.

The first major conclusion of the project is, that with our available tools, e.g. bio-economic models, we are able to assess environmental, social and economic impacts of management measures in the large, managed fisheries on the European level. However, in some aspects, especially social sustainability, are great data deficiencies and, therefore, we are only able to report very few indicators.

For small scale fisheries and fisheries where no stock assessment is regularly conducted it is more problematic to assess impacts. In this case a decent impact assessment will require additional data collection and, therefore, more time to conduct the basic analysis.

A second conclusion is that a better integration of stakeholders in the impact assessment process improves the results. For the acceptance and enforcement of new management measures it will be essential to get the approval of the stakeholders as e.g. the fishermen are much more willing to follow the rules if they have the feeling that the decision will help them to achieve their objectives. In many cases e.g. a healthy stock is a main objective of the management authority but also of the fishing sector.

A third main conclusion is that the whole process of impact assessments should be changed. At the moment the impact assessments are conducted when most of the decisions are already taken. The basic strength of impact assessments is that thoroughly done they can inform policy makers of the best policy option to achieve the objectives. It is, therefore, not simply about the impacts of a certain option but especially the analysis, which one of the possible option should be implemented.

The most advance bio-economic models bring together scientific, social and economic information to assess the consequences on stocks, fishing companies, fishing harbours etc. For the future we should try to conduct impact assessments at an earlier stage in the process and with a combined effort of natural and social scientist.

Project Context and Objectives:
The SOCIOEC project started in 2012 with a planned duration of three years. At that time the European Union (EU) was still in the process of developing and then adopting a new basic regulation for the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The adoption was planned for the end of 2012 but the European Parliament and European Council of Ministers finally adopted it at the end of 2013 and it went into force January 1st 2014. The new basic regulation included new fisheries management instruments while also keeping many from the previous regulation.
The basic regulation forms the legal background for managing fisheries in the European Union. It regulates how management measures should be implemented. It also regulates how stakeholders need to be integrated into the policy implementation.
In its green paper in 2009 (EC 2009), the European Commission (EC) identified a number of critical problems in the former basic regulation (adopted 2002):
- The objectives of the CFP are not specific enough
- In the process of implementation of measures stakeholder opinions are not considered sufficiently and
- Measures creating the wrong incentives.
In the first articles of the new basic regulation from 2014 the objectives of the CFP are quite imprecise (similar to previous CFP objectives). However, reasonably precise objectives are needed before it is possible to assess the impact of any new management measures. This is particularly the case in the fields of social and economic sustainability, where objectives were conspicuously broad and somewhat “fuzzy”.. Therefore, WP 2 was designed to propose possible high-level objectives for a new CFP. It also aimed to identify which operational objectives would be suitable in a more regional context and a view to an increasing involvement of a broad range of stakeholders.
One of the principal criticisms of the CFP has often been that the regulation is too detailed and prone to micro-management. It is often seen as too complicated and bureaucratic. It does not contain suitable incentives to achieve long-term sustainable exploitation of the resources. To explore these, we followed a transdisciplinary case study based approach with involvement of stakeholders. The aim was to investigate measures that could provide the right incentives and how the new CFP could help to improve stakeholder involvement (WPs 3 and 4).

The SOCIOEC project was particularly planned to evaluate the social and economic impacts of any new management measures proposed in the CFP (WP 5). The major objective of the project was, therefore, the assessment of the new management approaches, and in particular, the introduction of a landing obligation,, spatial closures and possible use of transferable concessions in some fisheries. We also included testing proposals made by stakeholders for management measures (e.g. introduction of an effort quota in the Mediterranean).
In addition we set out to improve the methods used to assess social and economic impacts. To this end, we carried out impact assessments across a range of management measures with a focus on the new instruments (a good example being the landing obligation in Art. 15).

Project Results:
The project participants analysed a wide variety of management measures, regulatory frameworks or incentives in management approaches by applying common methods (provided by the workpackages to guarantee a common understanding and to allow comparisons) to case studies organised basically to cover all regional seas. In the case studies individual fisheries were selected to analyse specific management approaches.
1. Baltic Sea (International Western Baltic Sea fishery, grey seal regulation; German small scale fishery in Fehmarn island)
2. North Sea (North Sea mixed demersal fisheries; plaice and sole fisheries)
3. Western Waters (French mixed demersal fisheries in the Eastern English Channel; Spanish Basque trawlers; Bay of Biscay sole; Bay of Biscay purse seiners fisheries; Irish fisheries)
4. Mediterranean and Black Sea Fisheries (implementation of Individual Effort Quota in: demersal fishery in Italian GSA 17; Greek demersal trawl fisheries in GSA 22).
5. Pelagic fisheries (international ITQ’s in the North East Atlantic pelagic fisheries; Northeast Atlantic Mackerel exploitation by Spain with focus on the Basque fleet)
6. Non-EU fisheries (Icelandic inshore open access fishery)

In the following chapters we describe the main results of the five research work packages.

Overarching and regional specific objectives

The objectives of the CFP are not precise especially on social and economic sustainability, a main structural problem of the EU fisheries policy in general. This makes assessments of social or economic impacts difficult, as it is not clear against what target/objective the assessment must be evaluated.

In the discussion with stakeholders about more specific objectives it was agreed to distinguish between conceptual and operational objectives. Conceptual objectives are general uniform statements, which are accepted by all stakeholders as desirable outcomes, specific enough that everyone is likely to have a similar interpretation, but which did not specify how these results could be measured.

Operational objectives are those, which have a direct and practical interpretation in the context of management and against which performance can be evaluated quantitatively, i.e with some specific threshold against which they could be evaluated. The goal of impact assessments is to evaluate against success as quantitatively as possible This type of objective has been the focus of the SOCIOEC project.

Sustainability definitions should, ideally, imply inclusion of the 3 major pillars of sustainability: ecological, economic and social, in defining the objectives. Therefore, sustainability objectives can be complex and sometimes include seemingly contradictory statements. For example, fish stocks conservation through low fishing mortality, may be incompatible with maximization of present value and fishers’ income, increase of fishing efficiency and employment.

As a starting point the existing management objectives from the main policy drivers, have been analysed and grouped by fields (ecological/biological, economic, social, governance or cross cutting objectives). Most of the objectives were found to be conceptual and not operational (see Table 1, Deliverable 2.1). In many cases these will likely be too general even in concept, and so basically unmanageable. SOCIOEC, using the results of interactions and workshops with stakeholders have developed a list of overarching objectives. They remain high level, but allow for more operational interpretations at the regional and fishery specific levels.

Social Sustainability: Social inclusion, fair living standards
- Ensure viable coastal communities;
- Ensure fair living standards, improved working and security conditions on board
- Improve policy and decision making through improved inclusive governance structures

Environmental Sustainability: Natural environment, resources
- Maximise yield in tonnes of commercial species
- Gradually eliminate discards on case-by-case basis
- Minimising by-catch of vulnerable and protected species
- Minimising negative impacts on seabed habitats

Economic Sustainability
Society level
- Maximisation/optimisation of net present value
- Maximisation/optimisation of gross value added (economic rent)
Industry/Company level
- Maximisation of profits (within ecosystem and social contraints)

High level, general sustainability objectives have been accepted by most of the interviewed stakeholders. The biological and ecological objectives aimed at conservation of stocks and ecosystems were given the highest priority by all stakeholders, especially including fishermen. The inclusion of ecological objectives by fishermen is particularly important given that fishing is one of the key pressures on the ecosystem. Social and economic objectives were also agreed in a similar way. The major disagreement had to do with whether profit maximization of a fishing company should be an objective for society as a whole or was purely a commercial objective for the company alone. Most, but not all, stakeholders, more broadly accepted improving and maximisation of Gross Value Added (GVA) (measuring contribution of fishing sector to regional/local economies). Environmental groups were strongly in favour of ecological constraints within which an improvement of GVA might take place. So, maximising GVA was not acceptable if it led to, say, a reduction in the ability to maintain ecosystems at Good Environmental Status (GES), under the MSFD.

Taking these high level objectives to stakeholders organised on the regional level, provided an indication which seems quite logical and which has been reported in the literature: the preferred objectives depend, to some extent on the background of the respondent. Many fisheries biologists argue that ‘economists’ are responsible for the overfishing situation of many stocks in Europe. It is suggested that economic arguments, e.g. economic viability of a given fishing sector, have been used to oppose cuts in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of a particular species. This is probably true in the social context as well, where arguments are made NOT to cut TACs to support regional or disadvantaged communities. Social and Economic objectives can be seen as much more driven by political or societal decisions Biological objectives are in many ways simpler and mainly constrained by the health or status of a given fish stock. Despite these differences in perspective discussions with stakeholders showed that there is a lot of common ground as all groups (industry, NGO, management and policy) share many of the general, especially biological, objectives. Given this broad agreement on the objectives themselves, it was perhaps surprising that agreement proved much more difficult when it came to the proposed management instruments which could be used to achieve these objectives. So in conclusion, there is considerable agreement on what our objectives should be across the three pillars of sustainability. These overarching objectives can also be interpreted at a more regional level to provide regionally appropriate objectives. Where the disagreements arise is in how to manage the system to achieve these objectives.

Management incentives and fishers’ behavioural responses

In discussions on fisheries management in the EU one of the first critical remarks is often that it is too detailed (micro-management), complicated, bureaucratic and most of all gives the wrong incentives to achieve the long-term sustainable exploitation of the resources. Incentives play an important role as an important driver for fishermen’s behaviour and wrong incentives are often seen as the main reason for non-compliance with the rules. Many fisheries might be represented also by a set of incentives and not by a single one.

However, there is little research directly assessing the incentives and fishermen’s behavioral responses in concrete management situations. With a transdisciplinary, case study based approach with involvement of stakeholders we evaluated in WP 3 past management systems, their incentives and fishers’ behavioural responses to those.

In general three groups of incentives could be distinguished: financial (monetary reward for following rules), coercive (financial or non-financial punishment for not following the rules, e.g. fines or confiscating possessions), social/moral (following the rules set by the community, e.g. to avoid risk of integrity/sustainability image damage).

All three types of incentives might be observed in European fisheries management, e.g.:
• Financial incentives: e.g. Scottish conservation credit system where fishermen receive extra days at sea when avoiding cod by-catch.
• Coercive incentives: a days a sea limitation or the regulation of fishing gear are often accompanied with punishments in case someone breaks the rules (fines or retrieving of a license).
• Social/Moral incentives: Involvement of fishermen in the management process or fisheries regulation by the community (e.g. producers organisation) often creates incentives to obey the rules to avoid stigmatisation of punishments by the group. Also call form fishermen for acknowledgement of efforts on sustainability, e.g. that they do avoid stigmatisation by society for being “unsustainable” and the “complaint” in interviews that these efforts are not visible => fisherman do car about positive image, which is also positive incentive (positive nudging)

The analysis of incentives in actual management measures has been done at the case study level, going in to more details by organising focus groups and interviewing fishermen.

The aim of the focus groups and interviews was to get an inside into behavioural responses of fishermen to certain management actions introduced by the EU. One of the main results was that in many fisheries the management measures changed over the last years and many of them provided ‘right incentives’.

Quite comprehensive analysis provided then insights for design of the future management measures. Therefore, the analysis has been conducted also for some very specific or so far rare management systems, like the Adriatic clam fishery as a community management system regulating access to the fishing grounds or the new Natura 2000 site management measures on the coast of the German Baltic Sea.

In the past governments have been predominantly applying coercive incentives, such as technical measures, effort limitations, and they are still in place. The idea behind these incentives is that because of the threat, people will behave the way management authorities would like them to behave. A downside is that it needs a high level of enforcement, especially when rules are not considered as legitimate.

Financial incentives have been applied, such as decommissioning schemes, ITQs or IQ, and subsidies to compensate high fuel expenses or to increase the efficiency of vessels. At present decommissioning schemes are partly replaced by subsidies that stimulate the shift towards more sustainable fishing techniques. Subsidies seem to be a right vehicle to avert (market/financial) risks and promote innovation (subsidy of R&D), while direct improvement of performance of daily business practices is positive “nudge” is more effective than subsidy to change behaviour.

Nowadays more and more social incentives are in place. In many countries at least parts of the management tasks are decentralised to Producers Organisations, often leading to increased legitimacy and compliance rates at the same time partly shifting management costs from the government to the fishing industry.

Apart from the incentives applied by governments non-instrumental factors have also created incentives for change, such as high fuel expenses, increasing costs, and diminishing fish prices. This has, among other things, led to a decreasing capacity, a preference for fishing in the coastal areas, and a shift in fishing techniques to less energy consuming gears.

In some cases the behaviour of fishermen was affected in quite a different way than intended. Perverse incentives can be caused by a lack of predictable relationship between the control measures used and the desired outcomes. Other reasons can be that the measures are not compatible with daily practice, the measures are considered unfair, they are based on weak access rights, or they lead to a change in preferences causing other unwanted incentives.

Fuel subsidies, for example, led to a higher dependence on fossil fuel. Decommissioning schemes stimulated the buy out of the least efficient companies, and the result was that remaining fishermen were fishing more efficiently. I(T)Qs in some cases have given incentives for high-grading. Finally, higher prices or subsidies for eco-friendly fishery products led to an increase in demand, but at the same time also created an incentive to mislabel food (fraud) in order to earn more money.

The case studies show that a combination of financial, coercive, but also social incentives leads to a more sustainable fisheries governance. Fishermen are not only driven by financial motives, but are largely influenced by the behaviour of other fishermen. For example some fishermen still want to catch more fish than their neighbour, although this can mean that more costs are being made. Other aspects that influence their behaviour are norms, values, and identity. How important identity is, shows the example of two fishing families who wanted to share one vessel for efficiency reasons, but in the end did not do it, because this would mean that one of the sons would not have his own vessel. Social incentives have been overlooked by policy makers for many years, but prove to be very important.

Research in other sectors has shown that interventions aimed at behavioural change should include the desire of people to conform to the behaviour of other people. Other important insights are that people are often not completely aware of the consequences of their behaviour, and the amount of information they can process is limited (Bouma and Dietz, 2013). It is therefore important to understand why fishers sometimes do not follow the rules, or are not ‘willing’ or able to change their behaviour. When the reasons for this are found, specific policy interventions can be performed.

Those policy interventions can be done according to the ‘Nudge theory’. A nudge is “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not…” (Thaler and Sunstein, 2008 p. 6).

In fisheries policy these insights can be applied. When for example average numbers of discards are shown to fishermen, and they see what the social norm is, the ones that are above the norm will most likely adapt their behaviour, and start diminishing the amount of discards.

The case studies show that management measures have different consequences, both economic and social, and these consequences need to be addressed in ex ante and ex post impact assessments. ITQs for example can have economic gains for a limited group of fishers, however overall capacity will stay the same, and the concentration of rights has consequences for small ports and fishing communities.

From the case studies it also become clear that the behaviour of fishers not only depends on economic gains, but also largely on fairness of the rules, for example in quota allocation, level of enforcement (see the case on discard reduction), and the behaviour of peers (free-riders). When these issues are not well addressed and institutionalised it can create incentives to non comply.

Lastly, the cases show that fishers are not just individual profit seeking people, but also take into account social and community aspects. This is evident in the case of the Basque fisheries, where individual transferable quota were collected and transferred to tuna farmers.

Concluding we can say that the creation of the ‘right’ incentives starts with a clear objective describing what the management measure is aiming for. This is very often lacking. In addition a decision on what is desirable should be taken. For example in the case of ITQs, which creates incentives for consolidation, it should be decided if this is what the government wants or not.
Governance structures and stakeholder involvement in management
The need for regionalisation and decentralisation of European fisheries management was highlighted in the Green paper initiating the third reform of the CFP. Regionalisation came out as a strong message from the consultation process with stakeholders as feed-back to the Green paper. Regionalisation became a priority in the new basic framework regulation for the CFP (Regulation 1380/2013).
A key research element has been the focus on ‘regionalisation’, understood as the simultaneous decentralisation of fisheries management authority from the central European Union (EU) level (i.e. Commission, Parliament and Council) to the regional level (i.e. member states around a particular regional sea area) and increased involvement of stakeholders in relation to the same authorities.
The new basic framework regulation adopted in late 2013 for the first time introduced what is in Article 18 presented as a structure for ‘regional cooperation on conservation measures’ under the heading of ‘Regionalisation’. These structures are now established and have been initiated in 2014. As one of the key research items, this project has investigated if or how the chosen solution allows regionalisation to reach its potential.
In the attempt to get insight into the implementation challenges of the newly adopted regionalisation provisions, the project has focussed on monitoring and analysing the early experiences of Baltfish (for the Baltic Sea) and the Scheveningen Group (for the North Sea). The member states behind these two regional bodies were fast to agree on memoranda of understanding for their cooperation in light of the regionalisation provisions - and Baltfish has, furthermore, been flagged by former Commissioner Damanaki as a general model for regionalisation in the EU. Hence, the selected cases were expected to provide lessons of value across the EU regional seas.
Several methods were used to collect data on regionalisation: literature review; key-informant interviews with representatives from the fishing industry, member state administrations and environmental NGOs; a short internet-based survey (e-mailed to Executive Committee members of six of the original RACs); and a high-level workshop on regionalisation and co-management with researchers, and representatives of member state administrations, the industry and an environmental NGO. Finally, research (using mixed methods) were carried out in relation to several specific/local cases, including: the German fishery in Fehmarn Belt, the fishery around the island of Læsø in Kattegat, Dutch demersal fishery, South West English mixed demersal fishery, Celtic Sea Herring fishery, sole fishery in the Bay of Biscay, Basque purse and trawl fisheries, Adriatic clam fishery, Greek demersal fishery, and the Turkish purse seine fishery in the Black Sea; all of which have contributed to the understanding of stakeholder involvement and decentralisation of management in different contexts and at different management levels.
In particular, the research carried out documented that the first year of work in the Scheveningen Group and BaltFish revealed a number of challenges in the regionalisation process as well as frustrations among participants.
Article 18 basically outlines a ‘soft’, voluntary process of regionalization, which has in most cases been framed as also involving a co-management element at the regional level. Importantly, however, the legal provisions for this co-management element of regionalization are weak. One of the issues that the research highlighted is how such a voluntary process is highly reliant on the presence of a ‘spirit of co-management’. Much of the ‘best practice’ of co-management is not hardwired in legislation, which for instance means that the success of co-management (as part of regionalization) is much more reliant on specific persons and attitudes than it would be if the process was hardwired in the legislation. In this way, the voluntary approach puts much higher requirements on the different actors in the process to act in the ‘spirit of the regulations’.
In many respects, it is possible to interpret the available empirical evidence in different ways, when it comes to how well the first year of regionalisation has been:
• A pessimistic interpretation: A failure to deliver what was perceived as promised has damaged working relationships between stakeholders and member states/Commission. Now there is mending to do.
• A pragmatic interpretation: The first experiences with regionalisation have been as expected. The landing obligation was unpopular from the outset. In this light, it is impressive that the process actually ran as smoothly as it did. The regional actors are learning fast and the regional structures will find their form in coming processes. However, there is room for improvement.
• An optimistic interpretation: Regulation 1380/2013 has come off to a good start: discard plans have been adopted, regional structures have been institutionalised, and the CFP is shifting towards a regional modus operandi. The intension was that the different regions would find their own procedures and learning by doing will ensure this; just allow them the time to do this.
A key question is what paths regionalisation can take from here, and how to ensure the best possible ‘future’? The opportunities are multiple given the relatively open framework in Article 18. As regionalisation remains ‘work in progress’, the project prioritised providing tangible policy recommendations, which can facilitate the move towards a regionalisation model that can deliver vis-à-vis the built up expectations. These policy recommendations are ‘modest’ in the sense that they do not require revisions of the provisions contained in the basic regulation:
o Strengthening transparency and accountability of the regional member state bodies by means of for instance websites, online calendars, public minutes, making the ACs observers, or a dedicated secretariat.
o Consider how a ‘spirit of co-management’ can be fostered.
o Outline clearer working procedures at regional level (and between regional and central level); the procedures are currently too dependent on individuals.
o Evaluate and possibly consider solutions to the resource problem, either by making funding available (from member states or central EU level) or provide clearer indications of what should be of priority at respectively central and regional level.
o Ensure that there are sufficient feedback loops in the system (at regional level and between regional and central level) so that it is clear that one part is not just giving advice but that there is actually an on-going interaction .
o Consider more in depth what role the ACs should play at regional level; should the AC be one among many access points for stakeholders, or should it be the access point?

Qualitative analysis

In a qualitative analysis ‘soft’ methods are used, e.g. focus groups to assess possible outcomes of measures. So far this approach was not often used in the IA of EU fishery management measures while mainly applied models have been used. The main reason for this is the necessity of additional effort. Organisation of the focus groups or meeting with stakeholders for interviews creates additional work on compilation of the results. Another reason may be the unfamiliarity of natural scientists and economists with the social science methods.

Using the scenario approach: coming from the objectives we want to assess different policy options to achieve the objectives (here a clear link with WP 2 where we discussed ‘improved’ objectives to be better able to assess impacts).

Focus groups and interviews were done to identify what impacts stakeholders expect from the scenarios. The gathering of qualitative data for different case studies highlighted the importance of a differentiated approach to impact assessment for each fishery. In many of the cases institutional aspects strongly influence the effect of some measures implemented. For example, stronger regulation by producer organisations in the French sole fleets was enough to improve the compliance with quotas, while Basque mackerel fleets required external controls to keep the daily limits.

The license system in the Turkish Black Sea fisheries is another example of the different effect of the same measure depending on the local institutional setup. In this case the fuel subsidies for the Black Sea Turkish fisheries are not distributed equally between fleets as small scale fisheries have problems to fulfil the bureaucratic requirements, applied to the big vessels, to access the subsidy.

While co-management, certification and long-term management plans are seen as having a positive impact, other management measures such as decommissioning subsidies and the discard ban lead to more diverse qualitative results depending on the type of stakeholder asked. For example, while environmental stakeholders agree with the discard ban and disagree with decommissioning schemes, the opposite result is gathered when asking fishermen.

Quantitative analysis

The quantitative analysis started with a description of the methods and was followed by a scenario analysis including a business as usual/status quo scenario. The first run of simulations with bio-economic models was discussed with stakeholders and afterwards adjustments of the modelling tools was done in cases when results were e.g. unrealistic or not reflecting the actual situation.

After adjustment of the modelling tools new runs of the models were based on the results of the management options and had to be evaluated in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and coherence making it possible to rank/rate the new policy options.

A few results from concrete Impact assessments
Mediterranean Sea: Reducing unwanted catches in terms of hake juveniles in the Greek case study through closures of hake nurseries to trawling would not only address the recently introduced landings obligation in EU waters but would also result in improvements of the socioeconomic indices of Greek fishermen as early as the second year of implementation of the proposed management measures.

Individual Transferable Effort Quota (ITE ) in the demersal fishery in Italian GSA 17. Policy objectives could be partially achieved through a new management system based on Individual Transferable Effort Quota (ITE) when combined with a reduction in the allowed days at sea (the application of this measure is not foreseen but in line with the general objective of the new CFP)Tradability of effort quotas induces an increase in fishing mortality as effort quotas would be concentrated in favour of the most profitable fishing fleets, which are also those impacting the most on biological resources. However, the positive effect of a reduction in fishing effort seems to be stronger than the negative effect associated to the ITE system. Reducing fishing activity can have positive effects in the long term from both biological and economic point of view, but the short-term effects can be not easily acceptable for the fishing sector. Less efficient vessels would be not able to cover fixed costs and this would result in a low level of compliance with the measure. In this context, the transferability of effort quota would increase the level of compliance and acceptability of the management measure. Scenarios simulations showed a good coherence between biological, economic and social objectives when a reduction in the allowed days at sea is assumed.

Western Waters: The results from surveys of PO members reveal mixed views on how well the UK's devolved quota management system works and on the trading of quota. Although the UK system is not set up to allow quota trading, significant trading nevertheless takes place between PO members. Support for the quota management system in general appears to depend on how involved fishermen feel, including involvement in trading activity. Quota trading is clearly accepted by the majority of PO members, but a significant minority remains opposed.

The Bay of Biscay sole fishery has been under a management plan since 2002. Following a first recovery plan, a multiannual management plan was implemented in 2006 (EC N° 388/2006). The first step of the multiannual management plan in 2008 was the restoration of the stock at a level of precautionary spawning biomass. Following the new framework of the CFP Reform, the Bay of Biscay sole management plan implemented in 2006 will become a Bay of Biscay multi-species management plan. Quota management by POs mainly relies on a quota pooling system with redistribution among members.

The Bluefin tuna, in case of Basque Purse seiner is currently managed by individual rights managed by POs in a common pool. This management measure entails a homogeneous distribution of the fishing rights among all vessels. The main effect of the pooling of blue fin tuna fishing rights is the redistribution of the rent. This issue favours those segments whose catchability of Bluefin tuna used to be low. Obviously, there are boat owners who lose while others win. Inshore boat owners agree to manage quotas collectively since fish trade is also done collectively, one of the most important advantages of the common pooling is the fact that they have greater bargaining power when selling fishing rights. The inshore sector feels that it is better to work together for all species. Thus, cofradías under the umbrella of POs have played a key role in recent decisions of the inshore fleet. According to the stakeholders, the IQ with common pooling has a social benefit for the fishermen. The simulation results support that the establishment of individual rights managed in a common pool improves the social indicator, the number of vessels leaving the fishing activity is reduced, and the biological and economic indicators improve within a time horizon of 15 years. This result occurs when the individual quotas are temporally transferred. But when the individual rights are not transferred or are transferred forever, the economic and social results are worse than in the previous top – down regulation.

Eastern English Channel mixed fishery: The management plan decided for sole, based on a transition to MSY in 5 years, allows objectives to be reached only if the landing obligation is implemented. Nevertheless, it is the most effective of the 5 harvest control rules tested for sole (which include the DLS rule based on the indicator of mean length in the stock). Management for sole also benefits plaice that is caught simultaneously but the effects on red mullet vary according to the level of opportunism hypothesized for fishermen. As for discard reduction, the de minimis system would need to be clarified before results can be properly assessed. In terms of economic performance, effectiveness of measures mostly depends on the fleet considered and their dependency on sole. However the simulations evidenced a good coherence between biological and economic objectives in the long term, and this particularly for the management strategies that were the most constraining in the short term, such as the landing obligation.

Baltic Sea: In the case of the German small-scale fisheries around the island of Fehmarn the management process involves setting restrictions to fisheries to protect other species (harbour porpoises and sea ducks) under the Natura 2000 umbrella. With the tools developed in SOCIOEC we aim at further developing the methodology of impact assessment for data poor cases. For example, analysing objectives of the management measure in this case study, it became apparent that the survival of the fishermen community is one of them. As the impact of the management has to be checked against this objective, a lack of operational instruments (e.g. adequate economic and social indicators) to measure the fulfilment of this objective as a defect in the current IA was identified. An improvement of the methodology of the IA requires taking the case study into context, asking for a broader view at objectives of the policy as well as the incentives arising from the management measures and finally trying to evaluate the effects of different levels of governance on their implementation. These aspects are especially important as the interaction between the fishery and the Natura 2000 area is managed through a voluntary agreement. and help us understand better the concrete effects of the European Common Fisheries Policy on small scale fisheries and protected areas.

Under International Western Baltic Sea fisheries sub case study an individual vessel based model evaluating the bio-economic efficiency of fishing vessel movements from recent high resolution spatial fishery data has been further developed. The assumption was constant underlying resource availability. The new version of the model considers the underlying size-based dynamics of the targeted stocks for Danish and German vessels harvesting the North Sea and Baltic Sea fish stocks. The stochastic fishing process is specific to the vessel catching power and to the encountered population abundances, based on disaggregated research survey data. The impact of the effort displacement on the fish stocks and the vessels’ economic consequences were evaluated by simulating individual choices of vessel speed, fishing grounds, and ports. Some scenarios led to increased energy efficiency and profit while others such as fishing closures or fishermen behaviour optimization sometimes lowered the revenue by altering the spatio-temporal effort allocation. On an individual scale, the simulations led to gains and losses due to either the interactions between vessels or to the alteration of individual patterns. It was demonstrated that integrating the spatial activity of vessels and fish abundance dynamics allows for more realistic predictions of fishermen behaviour, profits, and stock abundance.

Project recommendations and conclusions

The project partners draw the following recommendations and conclusions from the results oft he SOCIOEC project:

SOCIOEC analysis and research made in different fields of fisheries management: intensives, government and co-management, impact assessment of new management options, showed that the same management options might produce different results, depending on implementation and stakeholders involvement.

In all stages of the decision making process and IA stakeholders involvement improves understanding of fishery, modelling process and as a result makes decision implementation phase more acceptable by stakeholders.

Stakeholders’ involvement before the quantitative impact assessment and acceptability check of proposed new management options for specific fisheries makes the process more targeted on the sectors preferred management options, therefore makes future management options more ‘driven by sector’ which improves compliance in the future.

Impact assessment should be done taking in to account government structure and incentives, which might affect the implementation and results of impact assessment, e.g. use of co-management increases the responsibility of the sector for the resources and as a result compliance with the management measures, while ‘top down’ management results in difficulties in implementation and control.

Another important point raised by the participants of the final SOCIOEC Symposium in the discussion was the general process of issuing IAs by the European Commission. Several participants argued that impacts are assessed when the decisions are already made. However, impact assessments are especially useful to design policy and to find the best option to reach a certain objective.

The experience with IAs for Long-term management plans is also rather negative as time is too limited for e.g. the STECF working groups. In most cases a few simulations of bio-economic models are possible but many effects, including those for which data have to be collected, are simply not assessable. There is a need a more realistic approach when integrating social and economic issues with biological considerations. This could be done partly by a further improvement of bio-economic models but much more by integrating stakeholder further into the process, beyond being able to improve the assumptions in the models. This would allow a much better ex-ante assessment than at the moment.

An important conclusion from the project overall is that management must be on a regional basis. This would be useful as it allows e.g. for a more adaptive management, the better integration of stakeholders (more experienced in certain fisheries) and, therefore, would improve the enforcement of decided management measures. Therefore, the Art 18 of the CFP regarding regionalization is a first step in the right direction. It will have to be seen how this will work in the next years. If management only changes in the sense from a top-down approach from Brussels to a top-down approach in a region, not much will be gained.

The implementation of discard ban was too vogue and unclear at the moment of SOCIOEC implementation therefore it is very difficult to do quantitative IA of discard ban beyond case studies level, however it is clear that it will bring additional economic costs for the sector. Choice experiments on different case studies level reviled negative attitudes towards a discard ban and the perception of the sector that it would not improve fisheries management. However the rate of un-satisfaction was higher in the demersal fishery, compared to pelagics.

The SOCIOEC project worked with existing models and developed them further if necessary but it did not developed totally new tools. The applied models were already promoted in the past (e.g. FISHRENT, Mefisto, etc.) but this has not automatically led to a more integrated look at fisheries management.

SOCIOEC results and integrated analysis of objectives, incentives, governance and impact assessments showed an importance of all these fields in decision making process and the need to integrate economists in the management advice system in order to create the basis for continuing social and economic assessment. In this case the most important is to create a basis and continue improving tools to be ready for the new reform in the future. The tools are available and there should be a work done now on changing the process to allow using available tools in the future. There is also an example in more recent policies as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive that already consists of a continuous, adaptive process including impact assessment steps. Nevertheless, there are great worries that nothing will happen now and then the same will happen again with the next reform.

During discussions on the future, the question regarding integration of socio-economic part to the ICES advice, have been raised. There are already a lot of relations (including the ICES backing of the symposium or a special working group on integrated modelling (WGIMM)), but social and economic considerations are still not part of the ICES assessment work. Therefore there should be a way to involve economists more in the process. For that ICES needs to set up a structure, but so far there is a lot of reluctance to integrate economics in ICES.

The advantages of a stronger integration of economic analysis could also help for an improved policy design process in the EC. The major objects of economic and social studies are human and their behaviour, and changing fisher’s behaviour and incentives created by different management options are influencing the stocks status. Very good examples for this are the effects of the new discard ban: a change in fishing patterns to avoid e.g. cod bycatches in the saithe fishery to stay within the quota limits for cod, leads to losses for the saithe fishermen. Discard plans can be probably formulated now in a way, that allows fishers to avoid some of the negative effects.

Potential Impact:
As the title of the project reveals the main objective of the SOCIOEC project was to assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of new management measures of the revised CFP. However, it was clear from the beginning of the project that the new basic regulation of the CFP would not be adopted until after the project had commenced. This meant that a wide variety of management measures were analysed including past, existing and possible future measures. It was also obvious that other management measures that were under consideration at the beginning of SOCIOEC would become part of the new regulation. For example, there was no concrete regulation decided with regard to the discard ban. However it was known that there would be some regulation indicating a move from a landings to a catch quota system (at least for the managed stocks).

A potential impact of the project is the generated knowledge about possible impacts of these new management measures of the CFP. In several cases, these results have already been fed into the STECF advisory process ( e.g. the implementation of the discard ban) and therefore the project results may have to a certain extent indirectly influenced the concrete discard plans which were adopted in October 2014.

For the fishing sector, the results of impact assessments may provide information on possible future development of their fishing opportunities (as the bio-economic models provide information on stock development), the potential positive or negative impacts on the economic and social situation of the fishing fleet and the employed fishers. This may help the individual vessel or company owner to take decisions.

The project aimed at improving social and economic impact assessments. However, it was clear from early in the project that addressing social sustainability issues would be complicated and due to a lack of data, often impossible. Therefore, project participants endeavoured to provide input into the discussion of the future data collection framework of the European Union to improve the availability of social data (e.g. STECF meeting 13-05, Review of DC-MAP Part 2) and into the general discussion within STECF on the improvement of availability of social data.

Another main objective of the project was to improve the methodology to conduct impact assessments. Stakeholder involvement was an integral part of this process. The SOCIOEC project used social science methods to better integrate stakeholder views into the impact assessment process. Therefore, one of the long-term impacts of the project may be the procedural change in the way impact assessments are conducted in the future and thus improve the overall results of the IAs.

The following sections describe the numerous activities undertaken by the SOCIOEC project to disseminate the results.These include attendance at conferences, attendance at ICES and STECF working groups, the publication strategy and other dissemination activities.

Participation in conferences

The project partners attended a large number of conferences during the project (three year duration). Especially important were the special sessions at four conferences-, two conferences of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), 2012 and 2014, one at the ICES Annual Science Conference 2013 and one at the conference of the European Association of Fisheries Economists (EAFE) 2013. A short overview will be given on these four conferences and followed by list of other conference attended by project partners.

IIFET-Conference Dar-es-Salaam July 2012
For this special session at the IIFET conference we presented papers that described the overall approach of the project and planned research activities. In a separate call for papers, we additionally invited presentations dealing especially with the methodological background of two of the main topics of the project: incentives in fisheries management measures and socio-economic impact assessment of management measures. As the project had only started a few months, the aim was to start a discussion on status quo and different ways forward in the assessment of management measures, as socio-economic impact assessments for new measures are necessary not only under the CFP but also for example in the United States.
Additionally, the idea of the special session was to discuss with the participants the planned research activities and invited participants from outside the project group to present at the session. This should give us helpful suggestions and guidance to future research activities. However, this did not work out in practice as a different audience took part in each part of the special session. Therefore, the discussion was directed towards the overall problems of the Common Fisheries Policy and the reform process.
It was clear when formulating the session overview several months before the conference that there would be no results to present from the SOCIOEC project at this time. . However, as the IIFET conference only takes place every two years the project partners decided to organize a session to make people aware of this ongoing socioeconomic project in the FP 7 research program of the European Union (it is the only socio-economic project around fisheries research) and gather potential feedback from a specialised audience.

IIFET-Conference Brisbane July 2014
For the special session at the second IIFET-Conference during the project we were able to present preliminary results for some of the case studies. The first presentation was again a summary of the basic contents of the project and the presentation included also results, which were not presented later in the session (like results from WP 2).
1) In the first paper the wide variety of management schemes in the Western Waters were presented. The paper discusses the incentives created by each scheme, for example the case of daily limits in the Basque fisheries helping to avoid race for fish. Governance issues are also taken into account, to reveal the degrees of co-management present. As a conclusion, ITQs were presented as a continuum, where allocation of fishing rights and the degree of tradability can widely differ.
2) This presentation put forward the incentives generated by the discard ban as the new management measure in the basic regulation. The North Sea demersal fisheries were presented as an example to explain possible consequences of introducing the discard ban. The presentation also included an overview on the information we have on the economics of discarding.
3) The third presentation was an exploration of the mixed-fisheries consequences of the current drastic long term management plan for North Sea cod stock, given its present low biomass and low productivity compared to the other stocks caught in the same fisheries. Options were explored to manage these stocks simultaneously by allowing for some flexibility around the current Fmsy targets. We conclude that such mixed-fisheries management plans have a great potential for regional management when all stocks are above biomass reference levels, but that flexibility increase risks on depleted or recovering stocks.
4) Based on a simulation bio-economic tool developed in cooperation with Bay of Biscay fisheries stakeholders, the paper explores the consequences of modeling different governance mechanisms options for quotas. The results are analyzed according to a set of multi-criteria indicators with the perspective of improving cost-effectiveness analysis in fisheries impact assessment.
5) The fifth paper described an impact assessment in a data poor situation for management measures in closed areas in Germany’s territorial waters. With the tools developed in SOCIOEC we aimed to further develop the methodology of impact assessment for data poor cases, which, when taken into context, asks for a wider look at the objectives of the policy as well as the incentives arisen from the management measures and the effects of different levels of governance in their implementation.
6) In the case study on the Dutch flatfish fishery the authors investigated the Dutch ITQ system and the influence of its design on the behavior of the fishers and subsequently on the outcomes of the flatfish management. They’ve used a bioeconomic model to explore the impacts of changing the trade mechanism and trade structure of individual quotas and for example allowing international tradability of quota. The socioeconomic effects of quota tradability were examined.

ICES-Annual Science Conference Reykjavik 2013
For the ICES Annual Science Conference 2013 in Reykjavik, Ralf Doering formulated a proposal for a theme session. This proposal was afterwards merged with two other proposals for Theme Session H with the following final description:
“Sustainability has become a watchword in the recent development of fisheries management. It is an integral part of Maximum Sustainable Yield, which has become the chosen reference level for European fisheries management under the Common Fisheries Policy, but has also been proposed in other jurisdictions, and is incorporated in many management plans and harvest control rules. An increasing number of fish stocks within ICES are now managed according to agreed management plans and HCR’s. These have in most cases been evaluated by ICES to be in accordance with the precautionary approach and in conformity with long term sustainable exploitation and the ICES MSY framework. In turn it has been recognized that HCR & sustainability must be extended beyond single or multiple fish stocks to encompass environmental, social and economic sustainability.
Harvest Control Rules and sustainability objectives should go hand in hand under an EAFM, but in many cases the sustainability objectives have been defined only in general terms, particularly for the social and economic domain, but also arguably in some ecosystem contexts e.g. biodiversity and food webs. The evaluation procedures, modeling, methodology, definition of biological reference and estimation and definition of acceptable risk relative to these reference points and sustainability objectives is currently addressed in a range of ICES expert groups and EU Framework Projects (e.g. MYFISH & SOCIOEC).
We invite papers that examine sustainability and harvest control rules in the context of multi-species and multi-contextual objectives, as well as analytical approaches that can evaluate management strategies and the trade-offs between potentially conflicting ecological, economic and social objectives.
Papers presented could also address the following issues:
• Definition of acceptable risk relative to reference points
• Sensitivity of models to assumptions and error structure.
• Methods to implement error estimates in HCR simulations.
• The purpose and usage of reference points (lim, pa, msy, target, trigger).
• Lessons learned in implementation of management plans and HCRs, including fishermens behavioral responses
• Concrete steps to advance the use of management plans in ecosystem approach to fisheries management and methods to assess impacts.
• The effect of multispecies interactions on single species reference points
• Use of environmental, social and economic sustainability criteria in management plans and HCRs”
After the conference a summary was provided which is downloadable from:
SOCIOEC partners also participated in the ICES ASC 2012 and 2014 and presented project results.

EAFE-Conference Edinburgh April 2013
For the special session at the EAFE conference we focused on preliminary results of the discussion on the overarching sustainability objectives (WP 2) and the presentation of the main research methods and questions for WP 3 and 5 (e.g. the use of choice experiments to assess incentives in fisheries management measures) with an outlook on the upcoming research.

List of important other Conferences attended by project participants
The project participants attended a large number of additional conferences. The following list includes examples of conferences attend.

Participant Event Title/Action Type/Size of audience
TI World Fisheries Conference Edinburgh 7-11 May 2012 Personal interviews with fishing industry and Regional Advisory Council representatives, Presentation in session of ICES SGIMM Scientific community/ Stakeholders/RAC
TI Final symposium of the FP 7 Project ‘Policymix’ Leipzig 25-27 February 2014 Presentation of project results Scientific community
KTU GFCM Workshop on fisheries data collection in the Black Sea, Varna (Bulgaria) 22-23 April 2013 Presentation on SOCIOEC Scientists and environmental managers
HCMR RACMED General Assembly, Malta, 23th May 2013 Presentation on the aims and scope of the SOCIOEC project Stakeholders
NUIG MASTS 4th Annual Science Meeting, 3-5 September 2014, Edinburgh, Scotland Presentation on results of the Choice experiments Scientific community and industry
NUIG Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists, Istanbul, Turkey 28 June-2 July 2014 Presentation on results of the Choice experiments Scientific community
AZTI ARENA Conference September 2014 in Girona Oral presentation of SOCIOEC results Scientific community
NUIG/HCMR/TI 2nd Fisheries Dependent information conference in Rome, March 2014 Oral presentation of SOCIOEC results Scientific community
each appr. 50
NISEA GFCM SCESS meeting, 3-5 February 2014, Montenegro General overview of the SOCIOEC project with a special focus on Impact assessments Scientific community
DTU Aqua Baltic MSP Forum, Riga 17-18 June 2014 Oral presentation on the DISPLACE model Science/policy maker
IFREMER Conference of the French association for fisheries science, Montpellier, France (2015) Oral presentation on multi-species fisheries impact assessments Scientific community/Stakeholders
Marine Law Conference Law and the Environment 2015, University College Cork Oral presentation on informed decision making and stakeholder participation in the reformed CFP Scientific Community/Stakeholders

Participation in ICES and STECF working groups

For the success of the Common Fisheries Policy scientific advice is essential. The International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is providing the EU Commission with advice on the status of the fish stocks and other biological/ecological advice. The EU Commission has an own advisory committee, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, which is requested by DG Mare to assess policy proposals. The STECF is formally included in the basic regulation from 2002 and now in the actual from 2014.

STECF and ICES are regularly requested to evaluate existing long-term management plans and to assess environmental, social and economic impacts of proposed new plans. STECF was also requested to assess other new management proposals including a new regulation on technical measures and the new discard regulation.

Several principal investigators of the SOCIOEC project team are members of STECF, participated in STECF Expert working groups and are regularly participating and leading ICES working groups. Therefore, results from SOCIOEC were directly fed into the advisory work.

Publication strategy

A publication and conference attendance strategy status report (D7.3) was developed to establish and implement a publication and event attendance strategy to optimise the dissemination and the promotion of the SOCIOEC project.

Dissemination of key findings through publications is a crucial step in promoting and disseminating research results. Publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals remains one of the most important ways of disseminating a complete set of research results, and SOCIOEC has strived to disseminate through this means.

The scientific publications generated as part of the project are available to view, in chronological order, on the SOCIOEC project website (

In addition, full versions of the publications are available for download from the WP7 folder of the project's Basecamp intranet.

Other Dissemination activities

SOCIOEC Final Symposium
A two-day concluding symposium ‘Socio-Economic Impacts of Management Measures of the new Common Fisheries Policy‘ was organised in Brussels to ensure final dissemination and communication of the project results to both scientists and stakeholders. The symposium had sessions corresponding to the major results in SOCIOEC and also addressed challenges to SOCIOEC and future research needs. 55 people attended this two day symposium from 17-19 February 2015 in the Royal Flemish Academy for Sciences and the Arts, Brussels.

ecoOcean gametable
The ecoOcean gametable was further developed within the SOCIOEC project to be tested as a tool to directly investigate the effect of different management measures on fisher behaviour and as a tool to engage with fishermen in discussions about possible incentives of different measures. The game is also used to inform the wider public about the effects of different management scenarios, specifically the effect of closed areas and the landing obligation. The ecoOcean gametable was presented to stakeholders at various events and is available to download from the SOCIOEC website

Press releases
News from the project has been regularly disseminated through press releases. The objective of the press releases was to make all stakeholders aware of the project and to facilitate the general communication and dissemination of the SOCIOEC project. Press releases provided the latest news about the project and helped to increase the recognition of SOCIOEC and its results. The press releases were issued to appropriate media outlets (trade press, journals, web portals) to ensure that industry, civil society organisations, policy-making authorities, and the wider community were aware of the project, its objectives and, later in the project, its outcomes.

The press releases were distributed through AquaTT’s own dissemination channels, which include targeted media and marine contacts. AquaTT published the press releases in the AquaTT Training News. This newsletter currently reaches ~5000 international recipients on a monthly basis, with a target audience composed mainly of the scientific community (higher education, research, and students); industry; civil society and policy makers. The press releases were also published in the Aqua-tnet newsletter, reaching over 300 international recipients. The main audience of the Aqua-tnet newsletter is the scientific community (higher education, research) and civil society.

Project brochure
The objective of the SOCIOEC brochure was to facilitate communication and dissemination of the project, ensuring a widespread awareness to all stakeholders. AquaTT designed a full colour 2-page brochure following the brand identity of the project (logo, characterising project colours, etc.). The brochure aimed to communicate general information on the project, including the project objectives, methodology, expected results and partners involved. AZTI (Partner 17) contributed to the translation of the brochure into Spanish. Both Spanish and English versions are available for download from the project website (

Project website
The SOCIOEC website features general information about the project and is freely accessible to all stakeholders and possible end-users, including the general public. The website structure follows the EU Project Websites Best Practice Guidelines. The website aims to be extremely user-friendly and to provide better quality information in a highly-visible way. The content includes general information about the project, its objectives, partnership, results, events, news, publications, media promotional activities and other useful links. The website’s objective is to facilitate communication and dissemination of the SOCIOEC project, ensuring widespread project awareness to all stakeholders and possible end-users. The dedicated website serves as a communication resource to promote the project, its objectives and partnership. The website is also a source for updates on progress, results and outcomes as well as a repository for key deliverables. It also provides a link for the partners to access the intranet site and the internal communication platform (Basecamp). The SOCIOEC website will remain online for at least another 5 years after the end of the project so resources will maintain to be available for interested stakeholders.

Project template
The PowerPoint template was developed for partners to use at internal and external events when presenting the SOCIOEC project and/or its outcomes. The template includes a cover slide, two different types of body slides where the logo is allocated in different positions, and a concluding slide which includes the project acknowledgement to the EC. The template also helped to ingrain the project’s identity with external audiences.

List of Websites:
Contact: Ralf Doering, Scientific Coordinator, TI-Institute of Sea Fisheries, Hamburg, Gemrany. Tel.: +49(0)40 38905185,