The EcoScope Toolbox will be a novel, decision support tool, which will use an interdisciplinary scoring system integrating oceanographic, climatic, environmental, habitat, biological, community, fisheries, and economic indicators. The intent is for this toolbox to become a universal tool for managing fisheries within the full ecosystem context and a global tool for fisheries management after its validation and testing in all case study areas of the EcoScope project and in all European Seas. The scoring system will be based on a set of metrics that will measure the success of a specific variable with respect to a sustainable target. For example, one (fisheries) metric could be the percentage of stocks sustainably exploited or the conservation status of vulnerable species within a case study (ecosystem, area or country), and the sustainability target will be 100%. A metric will score 100 if its maximum sustainable gains are achieved and the ecosystem’s ability to deliver those gains in the future is not compromised (a range of values will be considered for each level of sustainability, e.g., 80-100%).
Lower scores will indicate that more gains could be achieved or that current methods are unsustainable and future gains are compromised. Based on this scoring system an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management would target 100% (for sustainable exploitation of marine resources and healthy marine ecosystems. A specific set of metrics that can be applied independently in each case study will be proposed and used within the EcoScope project. However, the peculiarities of each ecosystem/case study and the lack or unavailability of data for some metrics may confine the application to specific metrics in some areas. The EcoScope Toolbox will provide historical data on specific measurable metrics to various end-user groups, stakeholders, and the general public so that they are aware of historical trends as well as forecasts based on recent trends. For the selection of variables, the EcoScope Toolbox will use climate and oceanographic data (WP3), species distribution data, ecological niche modelling and risk and vulnerability assessments (WP4), assessment of stock status and community indicators (WP5), the output of ecological models (WP6) and economic indicators, such as the fisheries profitability index (WP7). The EcoScope Toolbox will be co-design by end users and stakeholders in a co-design meeting (WP8) and will bring together a range of interdisciplinary indicators and consider them simultaneously, with an aim to provide tools for successful implementation and to strengthen ecosystem-based fisheries management.