Internal meeting of WP2, WP3, WP5 and WP6 February 2016, Helsinki

From Opasnet
Jump to: navigation, search

GOHERR internal meeting of WP2, WP3, WP5, WP6

1 February 2016, 9.00 – 16.00

Biokeskus 3, Viikinkaari 1, 4th floor

Participants: Mia Pihlajamäki (UOulu), Timo P. Karjalainen (UOulu), Simo Sarkki (UOulu), Kirsi Hoviniemi (UOulu), Jouni Tuomisto (THL), Arja Asikainen (THL), Inari Helle (UH), Suvi Ignatius (UH), Päivi Haapasaari (UH)

Aims of the meeting: 1. Discuss the decision support model (WP6) 2. Prepare the Stakeholder workshop

1. Structure of the decision support model (WP6) + relationship between model data needs and WP3 and WP5 tasks/output

Kirsi Hoviniemi and Inari Helle were introduced as new researchers in BONUS GOHERR. They will take responsibility of the decision support model (WP6). A sketch of the model created by Kirsi was used as a basis for discussion. Research questions and aims of the project were discussed, as they determine the model structure. Inari highlighted the importance of clearly defining the variables that link different WPs, to ensure that relevant data will be produced in each WP. It was also highlighted that the timetables of different WPs must be agreed so that data can be exchanged between WPs in time. The linkages between WPs and timetables must be negotiated in the upcoming project meeting.

Biological part of the model

It was acknowledged that SLU does not produce data on fish population dynamics, but only on dioxin concentration per age class. The output of SLU work must be discussed and clarified in the project meeting.

Variables related to human health

Jouni told about a recent study (THL 2015) that assessed risks and benefits of herring consumption. The study was based on data on the amount of eaten herring in relation to defined groups of people, collected through a questionnaire. In GOHERR we have a similar approach but we also explore factors that influence herring (and salmon) consumption, and identify measures that could increase consumption. In addition, we extend the research to four Baltic Sea countries. The existing data on herring consumption will be updated by new data that is collected through a new questionnaire (WP5), targeted to consumers in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Estonia. The work of SLU (WP4, WP5) will update current knowledge about levels of dioxin concentrations (picograms) in herring. Data regarding salmon must also be added in the model. The wide scale of the WP5 consumer questionnaire means that a “country” variable could be added in the model. This would enable examining the situation (use of fish resources, dioxin exposure) in different countries. This depends, however, on the approach of SLU, i.e. if their model covers the whole Baltic Sea or only one defined area (= stock). This must be discussed with SLU. Other possibilities to make a country-wise analysis must also be considered.


It was not clear yet what kinds of scenarios are needed in the model, and how they will be built. These will be further discussed in the project meeting. Especially, relationships between ‘eutrophication scenario’, the ‘growth’ and ‘dioxin concentration’ of herring, and ‘dioxin scenario’ must be clarified, to guide the scenario building. In the stakeholder workshop, first steps to build scenarios related to herring use will be taken. The graduate thesis of Tuuli Teittinen provides preliminary material for the dioxin scenarios.

Policies/management measures/governance

Governance is a significant part of the project, but difficult to incorporate in the model. It was acknowledged, that if ‘governance’ will be included in the model, it relates to managing dioxin in fish and the dioxin risk to humans, not managing fish populations. This is because research focusing on fish population dynamics is not included in GOHERR. A possibility, although challenging, might be to create alternative “governance structures” (incorporated in decision nodes), each including alternative management measures/policy options to be implemented within that governance style (and possibly not in the others), and to use the model to examine which of the alternative policies/management measures could generate best utilities (and thereby to conclude under what type of governance structure such measures could be realized). The governance structures could relate for example to ‘bottom-up’/’ecosystem-based’ /’current situation’ types of governance. Another possibility might be to consider including ‘governance’ in the model in terms of countries. All these require much further consideration, and it was decided that the essence of the decision variables (policy/management measure/governance options) will be written out, to enhance understanding on what is needed in the model. The upcoming stakeholder workshop will shed light to the question of management measures/policy options.


Inari explained the principles of utility variables in a Bayesian network, and highlighted that all utilities must be identically scaled to get reasonable results. In the GOHERR model, utilities may relate to maximizing the use of herring for food, minimizing the dioxin exposure of humans, and to profitability of herring fishing for consumption vs. industrial use (using statistical data from LUKE). Utilities related to salmon were not yet discussed. Bayesian nets enable examining alternative decisions both from the viewpoint of different utilities and from the viewpoint of combined utility. Here, the utility of different stakeholders was regarded interesting, but this would require interviewing different stakeholder groups and identifying utilities from their perspective.

Value of control

A ‘value of control’ analysis needs much further considerations, and will be clarified in the course of the modelling work.

2. Prepare the stakeholder workshop

Agenda and sessions

The agenda of the stakeholder workshop (Tue 16 Feb – Wed 17 Feb) was discussed and updated. The aim of the workshop sessions is to make different stakeholder perspectives to the herring/dioxin question explicit, given their country and stakeholder group, to deliberate different views, and to ponder possibilities to synthesise or compromise differing views. At the beginning of each session, the facilitator gives a short introduction to the topic. Parallel Sessions 1 (implications of dioxin to herring fishing) and 2 (dioxin as a public health problem) on Tuesday will take two hours. The sessions include outlining objectives/desirable future states for Baltic herring fishery and dioxin, to be dealt with in backcasting sessions on Wednesday. The “final” objectives/desirable future states for backcasting will, however, be jointly defined on Wednesday, just before the backcasting exercise. Parallel sessions 3 (global prospects for herring fishing industry) and 4 ( consumers’ fish eating habits) on Tuesday will take 1.5 hours each. After these sessions, 0.5 hours is reserved for testing the consumer questionnaire, to ensure the relevance of the questions and response options. The backcasting exercise will be conducted for 2-3 different objectives/desirable future states. According to Simo’s introduction, backcasting includes the following steps 1) specification of desirable future states; 2) identification of actions needed to reach these states; 3) placing these actions into timeline and determining who should execute them, and; 4) evaluating possible implications.

Division of work in the workshop

Timo facilitates sessions 1&3, assisted by Mia (take notes, record). Jouni facilitates sessions 2&4, assisted by Suvi (take notes, record). Timo, Jouni (and Simo, if needed) facilitate also backcasting. Alyne and Andreas act as observers/commentators in all sessions (Alyne 2&4&5, Andreas 1&3&6) and chair the plenary discussions, based on their conclusions from the sessions (must be asked if they agree). Arja tests the consumer questionnaire. Päivi chairs the whole event. The stakeholders will be shared to the sessions based on their field of expertise. The current number of stakeholders attending the workshop is 13.

To do -list

A Stakeholder workshop file will be created in Google Drive, with a link to be sent to the participants well before the workshop. The file will include the final agenda, participant list, and the position papers. Things to do by the workshop: 1) Finalise the position papers and upload them into Google Drive (Mia, Päivi), 2) Write a description of a dioxin risk assessment model used by THL to be utilised as the starting point of session 2, and upload it into Google Drive (Jouni), 3) Write step-by-step instructions for backcasting and upload into Google Drive (Simo), 4) Specify structures for discussions in sessions 1&3 to avoid overlapping (Timo and Mia), 5) Finalise consumer questionnaire (Arja), and 6) Compile a list of existing management measures for Baltic herring (and governance options) and upload the document to Google Drive (Mia).