Lessons learned and future work

AuthorDiana González-Troncoso - Fernando González-Costas - Agurtzane Urtizberea - Ricardo Alpoim - Carmen Fernández - Thomas Brunel - José de Oliveira - Antonio Ávila - Alfonso Pérez - Panayiota Apostolaki - Santiago Cerviño - Esther Román - Dorleta García - Ane Iriondo - Eduardo Santos
EASME/EMFF/2016/008 Provision of Scientific Advice for fisheries beyond EU Waters
"Support to a robust model assessment, benchmark and development of a management strategy evaluation for cod in NAFO
Division 3M". Final Report.
This section presents main problems, lessons-learned, and milestones achieved in this
Project and outlines possible studies to be considered in the future.
Problems faced
The major challenge encountered during the development of the Project was to meet
the time schedule set for the third task of the Project (MSE process). The schedule for
Task 3 of Project SC03 was the same as established by the NAFO RBMS WG to
complete the MSE of cod 3M. The approved schedule for the 3M cod MSE by the WG-
RBMS was very ambitious; therefore, the risk of not being able to achieve Task 3 in
time was quite high. This, added to the complexity of the biological characteristics of
this stock (large variations of the biological parameters and difficulty in simulating
possible future recruitments), made the task of finding an HCR that would fulfil the
management objectives established by RBMS quite complicated.
Another problem was that the timetable established by NAFO for the cod 3M MSE was
changed several times due to different problems encountered in the process. This
resulted in new meetings and tasks that were very difficult to reallocate among the
different SC03 Project participants to meet the new objectives and deadlines. The
flexibility in changing schedules and tasks that exists in NAFO is much greater than in
the EASME Specific Contracts and the Institutions that participate in the EASME
Specific Contracts. This is aggravated when performing certain tasks of the projects
depends on hardware (big computers) shared by many Institutions as in the case of the
3M cod MSE.
Lesson learned
The main lesson learned was that timeframes set for future MSE processes should be
realistic, taking full account of the very large amount of work required and the
problems that may appear in the process. Sufficient time and human capacity should
be allowed for the development of the technical work, review, communication with
relevant actors and reporting of results. The NAFO Greenland halibut MSE is another
example of the problems that may occur when calendars are very tight or
unrealistically ambitious. It was developed in one year, and nowadays the SC is facing
several problems because of the rush with which the studies were done. In fact, there
are several examples of MSE processes in other RFMOs that have been developed for
several years, but not reached definitive results yet. The timeframes can be modified
during the study due to difficulties in developing some tasks, which also constrains the
development of the subsequent tasks. Therefore, a larger timeframe would give more
flexibility to the study, and this will facilitate greater flexibility for scientists in the
Project, as they also have other obligations during the timeframe of the Project.
Another lesson learned is that it is very useful for this kind of projects to involve new
and external researchers to broaden the expertise and perspectives of a relatively
small group such as the NAFO SC. Different points of view, knowledge and expertise

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