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 to achieve a set of management objectives using alternative Management Strategies, defined as different combinations of data collection schemes, methods of analysis, harvest control rules and subsequent processes leading to management actions.

MSE is currently being pursued at all of the Tuna Regional Management Fisheries Organizations (t-RMFOs).  Through the Kobe process, the t-RMFOs have a working group that amongst other things does the following activities: reviews the literature and experiences of t-RFMOs in relation to MSE in order to investigate the feasibility of its application to different tunas; provides guidance for developing MSE and operational models (OM) for tuna biology/ecology/fisheries in relation to the main sources of uncertainty arising from tuna assessments; and to the extent possible, provides and develop the modelling framework to apply the OM/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 2018 MSE meeting report. In 2019 the Commission adopted a new roadmap for the ICCAT MSE processes, which is currently under revision by the SCRS.

At ICCAT, 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 SCRS Science Strategic Plan 2015-2020 is to evaluate precautionary management reference points and robust harvest control rules (HCRs) through management strategy evaluations. In the 2018 Report of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (Appendix 16), the SCRS defined a MSE Roadmap for several stocks describing the plan to complete key parts required for the MSE processes of northern albacore, Atlantic bluefin tuna, swordfish (Atlantic), and tropical tunas.