Fisheries Managers often need to rapidly explore possible impacts of a range of potential changes to a fishery (for example, changes in fuel and fish prices, biophysical, environmental and economic drivers of the fishery, and alternative fisheries management regulations). Unfortunately, the preparation and implementation time involved in an end-to-end ecosystem modeling project (e.g. the Alternative Management strategies for commonwealth fisheries) means that delivery time is typically years (likely 3-4 years) at a potential cost of millions. This is simply too slow to be of use to many of the rapid turn around questions management bodies are presented with. However, the decisions that need to be made would benefit from system-level strategic information if it were available; and fisheries managers and other stakeholders, including the fishing industry, would gain significant insights into the fishery from the ability to explore such changes without the need to undertake specific research projects.
To this end the best approach is to preemptively create a library of runs that span a large number of potential management strategies and scenarios of interest and to have it to hand as an accessible data source through a user-friendly interface that can be explored from the user’s desktop. This need has been identified by key stakeholders, like the AFMA managers and lead to the ComFRAB call for this project. In the short term this tool is best developed and applied around a library of runs set up for southeastern waters and the SESSF, but the benefit can be much broader than that – both in terms of creating a framework for future use with other Atlantis (or multispecies) model output and indirectly by providing a way of interrogating a complex marine system to gain general insights into their function and implications of different forms of management.