Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEAWESS)

Andrea Fariñas, Eider Andonegi, Steven Beggs, Jacob W Bentley, Maria Fatima Borges, Gustavo de Carvalho-Souza, Mathieu Doray , Daniel Howell, Pierre Issac , Pascal Laffargue , Sigrid Lehuta , Marcos Llope, Maite Louzao Arsuaga, Iñigo Martínez, Debbi Pedreschi, Pierre Petitgas, Izaskun Preciado Ramirez, David Reid , Margarita Maria Rincon Hidalgo , Natalia SerpettiDorota Szalaj , Marian Torres Leal, Morgane Travers-Trolet

Research output: Other contribution


The ICES Working Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEA-WESS) was established in 2011 and has now completed its third three-year cycle (2017-2019). WGEAWESS belongs to the ICES Integrated Ecosystem Assessments Steering Group (IEASG) and works in collaboration with other IEA sister groups. The objectives of the group for this term were: to continue metadata compilation for all ecosys-tem components (ToR A) in order to carry out integrated ecosystem assessment and report eco-system trends relevant to stock management (ToR b), to update the ecosystem overviews of the group’s two ecoregions (ToR c), to explore the potential of models (ToR d) in relation to the previous objectives as well as to apply for funding to support the group’s work (ToR e). The group has been successful in identifying databases across the region, including retrieving some components (e.g. zooplankton) not commonly readily available at the member institutions. Complete datasets have been compiled for Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay (French side), West Iberian (Portuguese) waters and the Gulf of Cadiz. Integrated trend analysis (ITA) have been carried out for those subregions. The West of Scotland and Ireland and the Cantabrian Sea are data rich regions, efforts are being directed to collect data and develop ITAs there to ensure complete cov-erage of our two ecoregions. The group also explored alternative ITA techniques to those tradi-tionally used by IEA groups, in particular MAFA in the Bay of Biscay. This work has fed into WKINTRA.Attempts to link our IEA group to related stock assessment groups were done in this period. WGEAWESS developed stock cards that showed ecosystem trend information relevant to par-ticular stocks. These cards were then presented at the stock assessment meetings.As part of the ecosystem overviews (EO) revision, WGEAWESS modified the ODEMM method-ology in order to adapt it to the ICES EO activity-pressure-state diagrams outline. To do this we started with the scores assigned by the original ODEMM project for the entire North East Atlantic and modify from there where expert knowledge was available. The updated figure has been included in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian coast EO, which is currently being reviewed. Previ-ously, a climate change section was developed by the group and added to this EO. Members have also contributed to WKEO3.WGEAWESS decided to explore the possibilities of models in ecosystem based management, partly driven by the positive experience of WKIrish. Since most of the group expertise was with Ecopath with Ecosym (EwE), WGEAWESS co-organized a workshop, WKEWIEA, to explore the practicality of integrating information from these models and exploring their utility towards in-forming IEA in the western shelf region. Over these three years two Interreg proposals were submitted to ensure funding to the group. Despite making it to the final stage they did not succeed. In the coming years WGEAWESS will work towards incorporating the social and economic di-mensions as well as climate variability in cooperation with other ICES EGs in order to better align its work with both ICES agenda and EU policy.
Original languageEnglish
TypeWorking Group on Ecosystem Assessment of Western European Shelf Seas (WGEAWESS)
Media of outputICES Working Group Report
Number of pages75
Place of PublicationDenmark
Volume1 | ISSUE 64
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameICES Scientific Reports
ISSN (Print)2618-1371
ISSN (Electronic)2618-1371


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