Fourth Main Meeting - March 2017, Öregrund

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Fourth Main Meeting – October 2016, Öregrund, Sweden

BONUS GOHERR – Integrated governance of Baltic herring and salmon stocks involving stakeholders

MINUTES / P. Haapasaari

Time: 14-16 March 2017

Place: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Svenska Lantbruksuniversitet SLU, Öregrund)

Participants: Magnus Huss (SLU), Philip Jacobson (SLU), Andreas Bryhn (SLU), Anna Gårdmark (SLU), Alyne Delaney (15-16 March) (IFM-AAU), Jouni Tuomisto (THL), Arja Asikainen (THL), Päivi Meriläinen (THL) Simo Sarkki (UOul), Mia Pihlajamäki (UOul), Lauri Ronkainen (UOul), Annukka Lehikoinen (UH), Suvi Ignatius (UH), Päivi Haapasaari (UH).


Tuesday 14 March


The meeting started at 13.00 with the introduction of all participants. Two new GOHERR researchers have been hired: Päivi Meriläinen (THL) and Lauri Ronkainen (UOul). Project coordinator reminded about the upcoming second periodic reporting, and provided guidelines and deadlines for that. Nothing special regarding administrative issues was on the agenda, and the main message from GOHERR partners was that everything is fine. After that the situation of different WP:s was summarized to partners. The aim of the meeting was to focus on advancing the different tasks of the project by working in small groups.


Suvi presented the situation of WP2. The study of socio-cultural values relating to Baltic salmon and herring has continued. The focus has been on conducting interviews (Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark) and transcribing them. The analysis of the interviews has also started. The output of the analysis will be a comparative study of values relating to salmon and herring in the four case study countries. A journal publication focusing on the usefulness of the justification theory of Boltanski and Thevenot in analysing socio-cultural values in fisheries management, applied to Baltic salmon case study, was submitted to Marine Policy in January 2017. Suvi pointed out that a laborious spring is coming with conducting the comparative analysis and preparing for the governance study of Tasks 2.2 and 2.3. In addition, preparations for the international stakeholder workshop No2 must be started. Suvi has presented the work and results of GOHERR in several events since last meeting, such as the International Boat Show in Helsinki.


Mia told about a journal publication in writing, titled “The future of European fisheries management under changing governance systems: a scenario study on Baltic herring and salmon”. The paper uses explorative scenario approach to examine how the societal conditions for Baltic Sea fisheries governance and ecosystem- based management might change by 2040. She also presented a Bayesian influence diagram that she has built for this task. Mia will send an abstract about the scenario work to the BONUS symposium which the BONUS INSPIRE project organises in Tallinn, in October 2017. Also ICES ASC in September 2017 is in Mia’s agenda.


Philip told that D4.1 is in preparation. It was presented in the Swedish Oikos Meeting 2017 in Lund (A meeting for all ecologists in Sweden, 7-9 Feb 2017), titled: “Size-dependent predator-prey interactions between Baltic salmon and its prey to predict individual salmon diet and body condition” ( It will also be presented in a salmon and trout conference in UK. It was concluded that the model that SLU is building for examining the bioaccumulation of dioxins in the herring/sprat – salmon food web is progressing well, step by step. Magnus shortly presented the work-in-progress regarding the feeding patterns of salmon and herring/sprat, dioxin levels in correlation with the body length of herring, and the impacts of selective fishing on the levels of dioxins. Jouni reminded about the EU-Fish project of THL (Hannu Kiviranta) and its online material in Opasnet, and asked whether and how that could be utilized in GOHERR, for example as comparison data. The data collected by EU-Fish enables predicting dioxin concentrations in random fish (different species), given the compound data.


Arja told that the analysis of the questionnaire study conducted in Task 5.3 (Determinants of fish eating habits) has continued. The survey results are on view in Opasnet. A manuscript focusing on consumers’ fish eating habits (milestone 5) will be finished by the end of May 2017. As for Task 5.4 (Benefit -risk assessment of previous, current and future fish intake), all parts of the model are available in Opasnet (titled: Benefit-risk assessment of Baltic herring and salmon intake) and the model can be technically used, but its results are not yet reliable: some tuning will still be done. The model enables predicting health impacts of eating herring/salmon (or other fish species based on EU-fish data) based on consumption and the dioxin concentration of the fish eaten. Regarding D5.2, a paper will be presented in a conference of the international society for environmental epidemiology.


Annukka told that she has had meetings with THL, SLU, and UOul to clarify details of the decision support model, and the model has evolved well. There are still open questions, however, such as defining the utility functions. These were agreed to be discussed on Wednesday and Thursday both in small groups and with all GOHERR researchers. Lauri Ronkainen has been hired to visualize differences between the different basins of the Baltic Sea regarding the dioxin problem. This is because the concentration of dioxins in different basins is so different that one generic model cannot include all basins. It has been decided that the WP6 model focuses on the Bothnian Sea.


It was discussed whether Opasnet has been utilized in an optimal way in GOHERR, and if there is room to improve this. THL has uploaded all its GOHERR material in Opasnet and uses it as a repository for sharing data and results, and for model use. The Bayesian model of WP6 cannot be placed in Opasnet for use, as there is no software for it. However, the graphical model structure with explanations about the contents and results will be uploaded there. In addition, deliverables will be uploaded to Opasnet, as well as literature that relates to the dioxin problem of Baltic Sea fish.

Soft system's analysis to compare the optimal ecosystem-based management of dioxin intake by humans in different parts of the Baltic Sea

Lauri presented his work that focuses on the key interactions affecting dioxin concentrations in salmon and herring in different Baltic Sea basins, and management measures to reduce dioxins by fisheries management actions and/or the related risk by management actions targeting the consumption of these fishes. The output of the study is an influence diagram of the causalities of the ecosystem, the identified management measures, and the potential benefits of the management measures. As the systems analysis aims to capture the key biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic interactions that affect the dioxin flux in different Baltic Sea basins, it is an interesting problem-focused contribution to the challenges of ecosystem-based management. The question of which basins to be investigated and how they relate to ICES subdivisions was discussed.

Wednesday 15 March

Challenges of ecosystem based management for fisheries governance

Suvi gave a presentation of governance, titled “Challenges of ecosystem based management for fisheries governance (cases salmon and herring)”. She pointed out that one of the aims of GOHERR is to contribute to the current goal of the CFP to implement ecosystem based fisheries management in the EU, by developing an ecosystem based governance framework for salmon and herring. This implies developing governance and management frameworks that can address interaction between species, sustainability, the dioxin risk as well as the use of salmon and herring the way the society wants them to be used. In her presentation, she first provided definitions for ecosystem based management. Then she highlighted the difference between management and governance, and continued by suggesting principles for fisheries governance in order to respond to the challenges of ecosystem based management. She presented the governance models developed by Symes (2012), Hegland et al. (2012), and van Tatenhove et al. (2014), and these were discussed. She referred to the current governance system of CFP in the Baltic Sea, as a starting point for developing it further. She reminded us that in GOHERR, the task of developing governance to facilitate the implementation of the ecosystem based management of salmon and herring above all concerns nesting and regionalizing in terms of what (content), where (level) and to whom (co-management institutions).

Stakeholder workhop no2

Stakeholder workshop no 2 to be organized by GOHERR was discussed. The workshop will focus on governance: how and what kind of governance framework is required for or can facilitate the implementation of ecosystem based management of salmon and herring. Dioxins, sustainability and ethical use of the salmon and herring resources were discussed as potential topics for the workshop, to bring concreteness in the discussions relating to governance. It was agreed that the dioxin problem, as a joint nominator of these fisheries, should be raised into one of the key issues of the workshop. Thus, the main task of the workshop would be to develop and/or evaluate the potential of alternative governance frameworks to deal with the dioxin problem of salmon and herring. The role of dioxins in the workshop should also be highlighted when inviting stakeholders/experts. The planning of the workshop was agreed to continue on Wednesday and Thursday in small groups, and after that in separate meetings. The main questions to discuss further are: What is the system to be managed / governed? Whom to invite in the workshop? How to develop the governance models to be evaluated in the workshop?

Bayesian decision analysis: risks and benefits of eating Baltic herring

Päivi Meriläinen presented her work that she started in the Decision analysis course organized by GOHERR in February. The study focuses on the question of how the consumption of herring/salmon of different sizes in different Baltic Sea countries impacts the overall health burden, and how eating recommendations can be used to influence this. This work will utilize the survey data collected by WP5.

WP6: Decision support model

Annukka updated the situation of WP6 model. The utility nodes were discussed further. Now there is only the “burden of disease” utility node. The utility nodes that relate to sustainability of stocks, ecosystem health, and economic benefits must still be defined. The links from SLU results (dioxins in fish) to human intake of dioxins were explored: the size of herring in catch affects the size of herring in human diet, and thus human exposure to dioxins.

Thursday 16 March

Group work

The rest of Tuesday, and whole Wednesday was used for working in small groups in order to advance GOHERR work. The group work concerned 1) Governance, 2) WP6 Model, 3) The work on scenarios. The work on governance revolved around the questions of 1) how to develop governance frameworks for ecosystem based management of salmon and herring so that it could also address the dioxin problem, 2) how to arrange the workshop to elaborate the governance questions. In addition, the deliverables that relate to governance were planned and journals for publishing the papers discussed. The details of WP6 model were discussed in small groups between UH-SLU, UH-THL, and UH-UOul. The work relating to scenario building in WP3 were discussed in relation to WP6, and the contents of resulting journal articles agreed and outlined. An interest to write a policy brief for summarizing the results of GOHERR was expressed. Participation in ICES ASC 2017 was also discussed.

The meeting ended at 16.00