Management strategy evaluation (MSE)

Management strategy evaluation (MSE) is a collaborative process between scientists and decision makers that involves using computer simulation to compare the relative ability of different Management Strategies (defined as different combinations of data collection schemes, methods of analysis, harvest control rules (HCRs) and subsequent processes leading to management actions) at achieving previously agreed management objectives.

MSE is currently being pursued at all the Tuna Regional Management Fisheries Organizations (t‑RMFOs). Through the Kobe process, the t-RMFOs had a working group that: reviewed the literature and experiences of t-RFMOs in relation to MSE; provided guidance for developing MSE and operating models (OM) for tuna biology/ecology/fisheries for the main uncertainties arising from tuna assessments; and developed the modelling framework to apply the MSE to tuna assessments by t-RFMOs. More information about the t-RMFOs working group can be found here including a glossary of terms for harvest strategies, management procedures and management strategy evaluation and the Report of the 2018 Joint Tuna RFMO Management Strategy Evaluation Working Group Meeting.

In ICCAT, Recommendation by ICCAT on the development of harvest control rules and of management strategy evaluation (Rec. 15-07) defines MSE as “an inclusive, interactive and iterative process for evaluating, inter alia, the performance of proposed harvest control rules and reference points in relation to management objectives, including the risk associated with not achieving those objectives”. Rec. 15-07 also notes that one of the main goals of the 2015-2020 SCRS Science Strategic Plan was to use MSE to evaluate precautionary management reference points and determine robust harvest control rules.

Since 2018, the SCRS and the Commission annually updates its MSE Roadmap. This describes the plan to complete key parts required for the MSE processes of northern albacore, Atlantic bluefin tuna, north Atlantic swordfish, and tropical tunas. The most recent MSE roadmap adopted by the Commission is available here.