Ecological Risk Assessment

Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing

CSIRO provides support to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to undertake fishery risk assessments for Commonwealth fisheries. Methods developed by CSIRO and others are widely used.

Map of ERA methods used over the past 15 years (codes described in Figure 1 Fulton 2020). The geographic bias no doubt reflects language bias (only English language publications were reviewed), but in some cases (e.g. for Africa, India etc) does reflect that no relevant studies have yet been undertaken there.

Methods development

The ERAEF consists of a hierarchical framework, with the following stages

  1. Scoping – Each fishery is reviewed to assemble the background information for Level 1 and Level 2. A Scoping template is used by CSIRO to translate information into fishery reports using R Markdown (GeneralFisheryCharacteristics).
  2. Level 1 – Qualitative assessment of a set of hazards for each fishery, where ecological risk is assessed.
  3. Level 2. Online ERAEF assessment tool, allowing automated Level 2 assessments (password required)
  • This online tool allows rapid calculation and visualisation of Productivity and Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) and Sustainability Assessment for Fishing Effects (SAFE) for Australian Commonwealth Fisheries.
Example analysis (PSA) from the online assessment tool for an example fishery.

Commonwealth Fisheries ERAEF comparisons

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Background

The Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) framework involves a hierarchical approach that moves from a comprehensive but largely qualitative analysis of risk at Level 1, through a more focused and semi‐quantitative approach at Level 2, to a highly focused and fully quantitative “model‐based” approach at Level 3. This approach is efficient because many potential risks are screened out at Level 1, so that the more intensive and quantitative analyses at Level 2 (and ultimately at Level 3) are limited to a subset of the higher risk activities associated with fishing. It also leads to rapid identification of high‐risk activities, which in turn can lead to immediate remedial action (risk management response). The ERAEF approach is also precautionary, in the sense that risks will be scored high in the absence of information, evidence or logical argument to the contrary. The link below summarizes risk scores (by taxa) from the most recent two Ecological Risk Assessments for selected fisheries/sub-fisheries.

Comparison of 2 most recent ERAs

This comparison plot shows the change in average risk at the family level for the 2007 and 2017 ERAs.  The solid colour is the 2017 assessment and the lighter coloured circles show the previous assessment. 

This radar plot shows the change in average risk at the family level for the 2007 and 2017 ERAs.  The red circles are the results for the most recent assessment and the black circles show the previous assessment. 

Resources

Publications

  • Hobday, A. J., A. D. M. Smith, I. Stobutzki, C. Bulman, R. Daley, J. Dambacher, R. Deng, J. Dowdney, M. Fuller, D. Furlani, S. P. Griffiths, D. Johnson, R. Kenyon, I. A. Knuckey, S. D. Ling, R. Pitcher, K. J. Sainsbury, M. Sporcic, T. Smith, T. Walker, S. Wayte, H. Webb, A. Williams, B. S. Wise and S. Zhou (2011). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing. Fisheries Research 108: 372–384.
  • Hobday, A. J., A. D. M. Smith, H. Webb, R. Daley, S. Wayte, C. Bulman, J. Dowdney, A. Williams, M. Sporcic, J. Dambacher, M. Fuller and T. Walker (2007). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing: Methodology. Report R04/1072 for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra. July 2007. available from http://www.afma.gov.au/environment/eco_based/eras/eras.htm.
  • Hornborg, S., A. J. Hobday, F. Ziegler, A. D. M. Smith and B. S. Green (2018). Shaping sustainability of seafood from capture fisheries integrating the perspectives of supply chain stakeholders through combining systems analysis tools. ICES Journal of Marine Science: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsy1081.
  • Smith, A. D. M., A. J. Hobday, H. Webb, R. Daley, S. Wayte, C. Bulman, J. Dowdney, A. Williams, M. Sporcic, J. Dambacher, M. Fuller, D. Furlani, S. Griffiths, R. Kenyon and T. Walker (2007). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing: Final Report R04/1072 for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra. July 2007.
  • Williams, A., J. Dowdney, A. D. M. Smith, A. J. Hobday and M. Fuller (2011). Evaluating impacts of fishing on benthic habitats: a risk assessment framework applied to Australian fisheries. Fisheries Research 112(3): 154-167. doi:110.1016/j.fishres.2011.1001.1028.
  • Zhou, S., A. J. Hobday, C. M. Dichmont and A. D. M. Smith (2016). Ecological risk assessments for the effects of fishing: a comparison and validation of PSA and SAFE. Fisheries Research: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2016.1007.1015.

Ecological risk assessment – incorporating climate change risks

This is an active area of research.

Ecological risk assessment – cumulative risk assessment

This is an active area of research.