Second Main Meeting - February 2016, Copenhagen

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

Second project meeting: MINUTES / P. Haapasaari

Time: 15, 18-19 February 2016 (Mon, Thu-Fri) (Agenda)

Place: Bella Center, Copenhagen

Participants: Suvi Ignatius (UH), Anna Gårdmark (SLU) (Thu-Fri), Alyne Delaney (IFM-AAU), Timo P. Karjalainen (UOul), Simo Sarkki (UOul), Mia Pihlajamäki (UOul), Kirsi Hoviniemi (UOul) (Thu-Fri), Jouni Tuomisto (THL), Arja Asikainen (THL), Päivi Haapasaari (UH), Andris Andrusaitis (BONUS Secretariat) (Thu)

The second main project meeting of BONUS GOHERR was scheduled for three days (Mon, Thu, Fri). On Tue –Wed (16-17 Feb) GOHERR project arranged a stakeholder workshop that focused on the dioxin problem of Baltic herring (Agenda). In this document, the project meeting is reported. A summary of the Stakeholder workshop will be uploaded to GOHERR Website ( and Opasnet A piece of News about the Stakeholder workshop has also been published in the BONUS projects website ( On Monday we finalized the plans, methods and arrangements of the GOHERR stakeholder workshop. Thursday was the main meeting day to go through project issues and the Work Packages (WPs). On Friday the main topic was the decision support model (WP6). In addition, Alyne, Suvi and Päivi discussed the forthcoming tasks of WP2.

Monday 15 Feb

On Monday, all project researchers that were supposed to participate in the planning of the stakeholder workshop arrived at Bella Centre by 12.30. During the day, plans for each session of the workshop (sessions 1 and 3, and sessions 2 and 4) were checked and brought into line with each other. The steps of backcasting were gone through, and applying the method to the workshop tasks defined (backcasting slides). The roles of the project researchers in the workshop were specified. Division of the stakeholders into the different workshop sessions was defined according to their expertise. The questions of the consumer questionnaire (WP5) were discussed, some flaws identified, and the way to test the questionnaire in the workshop determined. Planning the workshop took until 19.00 on Monday. We continued on Tuesday morning at 9.00 with final checks just before the start of the workshop at 11.00.

Thursday 18th Feb

Overview of the first GOHERR period

The project meeting started at 9.00. Andris Andrusaitis from the BONUS Secretariat participated in the meeting. Päivi stated that all WPs are in good progress. In WP6, Kirsi Hoviniemi and Inari Helle will devote working time to the development of the decision support model. Three PhD students have been hired, and the first stakeholder workshop is successfully carried out. Päivi told that the project had awaken much interest in the Kick off Conference of the Sustainable Ecosystem Services projects and the European Community Stakeholder meeting in Brussels (1-2 December 2015), and an article titled “Answering the dioxin question” will be published in issue 18 of the Pan European Networks: Science and Technology –journal, in March 2016. Päivi reminded all to read the blogs of Mia Pihlajamäki and Suvi Ignatius in the BONUS projects website ( and invited also Philip Jacobson (SLU PhD student) to write GOHERR blogs.

WP1 Management

Kirsi instructed on the First periodic reporting (M14) that comprises a) an overview including a publishable summary, b) an explanation of the use of resources, c) a financial report, and d) performance of statistics (slides). 15 April is the deadline (DL) to report to WP leaders, and 29 April is the DL for WP leaders to report to coordinators. EPSS reporting DL for all partners is 29 April. No template for reporting exists, but there are suggested titles (look at the participant’s guide – suggested titles). Each WP leader submits an own performance statistics report (cumulative numbers).

WP2 Socio-cultural use, value, and governance of Baltic salmon and herring

Suvi presented progress of Tasks 2.1a&b, that is, literature reviews on the socio-cultural importance and use of Baltic salmon and herring (slides). It was concluded, that salmon and herring are two very different fish species in regard to how people valuate them in socio-cultural terms. The results of the analyses on values will be used in Task 2.3 that relates to the development of governance structures for the ecosystem-based management of Baltic salmon, herring and dioxin. Ecosystem-based (regionalized) governance requires taking into account local people’s/stakeholders’ values, which then is assumed to enhance stakeholders’ commitment to decisions, and further improve the legitimacy and effectiveness of decisions.

Alyne presented Task 2.2a, that is, a literature review on multi-level/polycentric/nested governance, and integrated governance, overall and in the Baltic Sea (slides). The task explores the potential of increased regionalization in fisheries governance, and acknowledges the difference between formal and informal governance.

Suvi presented Task 2.2b, that is, a literature review of the current legal and policy frameworks related to management of Baltic salmon and herring (slides). Together with Task 2.2a, this Task forms the basis for pondering strengths and weaknesses in the current system, as well as constraints and opportunities of changing the present institutional structures towards more integrated ecosystem-based/multi-level/polycentric decision making. Differences between narrower and broader definitions of ecosystem-based management were acknowledged. Suvi highlighted that both the CFP and MSFD pursue the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches.

Based on results of Tasks 2.1 (values), and 2.2 (current governance structures and “best practices”), possibilities for new governance structures for Baltic salmon and herring will be discussed (in Tasks 2.3). A question to consider in the meeting was if and how “governance” can be included in the decision support model. A suggestion was to build a separate “metamodel” with alternative governance structures included, and to test the success of the governance options in implementing different management actions, and further, in reaching management objectives. Another idea was to view the decision support model as such as a holistic ecosystem-based management approach that enables examining what kind of management actions enable achieving ecological, social, and human health related utilities at the same time. Then, the next step would be to discuss what kind of a governance structure is required, to enable taking decisions in an integrated way.

For WP2, the next period (M11-M16) means a start with the interviews (Task 2.1c) and the film short (Task 2.1e). Suvi will attend the EurSafe Congress organized by the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics, in 29 Sept – 1 Oct 2016 in Porto, Portugal. She will give an oral presentation on topic “How socio-cultural values affect the use and management of Baltic herring?”. For Conference Proceedings, a paper will be written by the end of March. The paper will be the first version of D2.3 (Comparative analysis of differing socio-cultural traditions and values of Baltic herring and salmon among Baltic Sea countries (DL: M30).

It was noted that GOHERR is a highly topical project because of the current paradigm shift in fisheries management, from species-specific to multi-species management, from short to long term management, and overall, towards exploring fisheries systems in an increasingly holistic way. This also concerns multisector management. Andris suggested us to familiarize us with BONUS INSPIRE project that has similar aims with GOHERR, as regards multi-species management.

WP3 Scenarios and management objectives

Mia presented Task 3.1, that is, Defining desired future state and objectives for integrated salmon and herring policy (M12), and Task 3.2, i.e. Identifying desirable future paths to reach the objectives (slides). These tasks are very much related to the stakeholder workshop that took place on Tue-Wed the same week, which means that the tasks are in good progress.

Mia also summarized the feedback that the stakeholders gave on the workshop. A short piece of news was written to website: BONUS GOHERR held a workshop with 11 invited experts from four Baltic Sea countries to discuss the dioxin problem of Baltic herring. Active discussions among GOHERR researchers and stakeholders resulted in an improved understanding of the possibilities to increase human consumption of Baltic herring. “This improved my view – especially on the prospects of herring market and things affecting it“, said one of the participants after the workshop. One key outcome of the workshop was the identification of three desirable future states for increasing herring consumption and the actions needed to reach them.

Plans for the next period (M11-M16) relate to analyzing the output of the workshop. The analysis will be first written into a Conference paper by the end of March, as Mia also attends the EurSafe Congress (Sept-Oct 2016). Her oral presentation is titled “Food or feed? Identifying policy gaps blocking desirable futures for Baltic herring fishery”. In addition, WP3 will contribute to building the decision support model (WP6) by building scenarios/eliciting expert knowledge related to eutrophication, dioxin input, salmon policy and herring use.

WP4 Linking fish physiology to food production and bioaccumulation of dioxin

Anna presented the SLU team working for GOHERR, and the current situation of Task 4.1 (Derive size-dependent life history parameters for salmon to be used in model parameterization and analyses), Task 4.2 (Develop an existing PSPM parameterized for Baltic herring to also include salmon), and Task 4.5 (Compile monitoring data on herring and salmon to analyze interdependence of herring and salmon populations) (slides). Anna introduced salmon lifecycle, and told that Philip Jacobson (PhD student of SLU working in GOHERR) has started his work in GOHERR in November by reinvestigating salmon diet by using statistics. Linking the SLU salmon-herring model with the decision support model was discussed, as well as the relation of SLU model with eutrophication. Anna clarified how eutrophication can be taken into account in their model in terms of zooplankton (herring feed), and its relation to dioxin bioaccumulation and dilution.

The next steps of WP4 relate to progressing work in Tasks 4.1, 4.2 and 4.5, and negotiating linkages to the decision support model (WP6). Within the SLU team, Andreas Bryhn takes the main responsibility (in addition to Anna) of negotiating the details of the decision support model, and linking the SLU model (WP4) with the decision support model (WP6).

WP5 Linking the health of the Baltic Sea with the health of humans: Dioxin

Arja presented the questionnaire that has been developed in Task 5.3 (Determinants of fish eating habits). The questionnaire includes questions related to the consumption of salmon and herring, but also questions related to the overall value of salmon and herring to (ordinary) people (i.e. consumers), as related to WP2 (Tasks 2.1 c,d). In addition, Arja presented the feedback that was received from the stakeholders that tested the questionnaire in the stakeholder workshop (on Tuesday). As for Task 5.4 (Benefit-risk assessment of previous, current and future fish intake), Jouni presented the health impact model related to the consumption of Baltic herring in Finland, that is in use in THL (slides). In GOHERR, the model will be updated to the current situation and year 2040, and extended to cover salmon (in addition to herring), as well as Sweden, Denmark and Estonia (in addition to Finland).

Clustering among BONUS projects

Andris Andrusaitis presented the current plans for promoting cooperation between BONUS projects. Päivi has contributed to that plan, pointing at common interests between GOHERR and the other projects. The forthcoming scenario workshop of BONUS BALTICAPP (6-7 April 2016) has been noticed in GOHERR, and we consider if participating benefits GOHERR. Different GOHERR websites and internet workspaces, and their uses and usefulness, were introduced to Andris, and recapped to ourselves: public website,, and

Andris reminded us about the importance of matching the timing of tasks and deliverables so that everything will be delivered in time. He also reminded that the official deadlines can be changed if it seems that timings do not work!

WP6 Building a decision support model for integrated governance

The rest of the day (from about 16.30 to 18.30) was used for discussing the details and data needs of the decision support model. The different parts of the model and their linkages were specified, and the model structure tuned. Anna clarified the salmon stock model and herring stock model, and how they will relate to other parts of the model, and Jouni explained the model of THL. The utilities / objectives were discussed, as well as potential management actions to be evaluated using the model. A big question is how governance will be included in the model, or if it is feasible at all to try to evaluate different governance structures using a model. Different ways for including scenarios for eutrophication, dioxin input, salmon policy and herring use in the model were discussed.

Friday 19 Feb

WP6 Building a decision support model for integrated governance

On Friday, we continued discussing the details and data needs of the decision support model (WP6). For example the link between eutrophication and fish was specified by Anna. According to her, eutrophication affects fish through 1) biomass of zooplankton produced (by time unit day/year) (copeptids, cladocerans), and 2) biomass of zoobenthon (mysids). These parameters should be estimated for Botnian Bay, Bothnian Sea, Gulf of Finland, Gotland Basin, and Bornholm Basin. It was noted, that we already have information from the Gulf of Finland for chlorophyll A, but not for zooplankton. Thus, scenarios for chlorophyll are needed, at the minimum (both small and large zooplankton). In addition, expert knowledge on euthrophication for 2040 is needed. It was agreed that scenarios as such are not necessary for the decision support model, if estimations for eutrophication, dioxin input, salmon policy and herring use for the current situation and 2040 are provided. Regarding dioxin, Anna told that dioxin content (picograms) in zooplankton and zoobenthos is needed for the SLU model. This is relevant especially in the case of organisms that eat holes in the sea bottom, i.e. sediment monoporeia. It was agreed, that the decision support model includes two time scales: current time (2010-2015) and 2040.

Discussion around the decision support model will continue after the meeting, until a consensus on defining the variables and links, and right ways to obtain data are reached.

WP2 Socio-cultural use, value, and governance of Baltic salmon and herring: Plans for next period

After the others had left, Alyne, Suvi and Päivi continued discussing plans for WP2. Suvi will join Alyne to perform interviews in Estonia, starting in May. The fieldwork in Estonia will include 1) semi-structured expert interviews, and 2) an enquiry/survey in a herring market event in Pärnu. Snowball sampling will be used to find experts to be interviewed. Päivi will then make a few interviews in Finland, with Suvi. Regarding Task 2.1d (Socio-cultural valuation study of Baltic salmon and herring), the method to be applied was discussed. A mixed methods approach was preferred to q-sorts, because both Alyne and Päivi have received very negative feedback on q-sorts, from respondents. Questionnaires using the q-sorts method are, overall, regarded too heavy to be answered, because the method requires answering and ranking the same questions several times. Thus, in Task 2.1d), mixed methods will include a) the literature review made in Tasks 2.1a&b, b) the analysis of the value-related questions included in the consumer questionnaire (Task 5.3), and c) interviews (both expert interviews and ordinary people at fish markets). This implies that both experts and ordinary people will be included in this valuation.

The project meeting ended at 15.30 on Friday. The next project meeting (3 days) will be organized in September in Finland. It will be considered if a Decision support analysis course (Task 7.2f) could be arranged during the same week.