The status of stocks is an essential indicator for management and policy activities aiming at the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. Assessing the status of (mainly) fish populations (stocks) is a science by itself, and is needed to understand safe harvesting limits to help conserve marine ecosystems and maintain the sustainability of aquatic food resources. It requires information and competences from e.g.biologists, ecologists, economists, and environmental scientists.

Good stock assessments require high quality datasets and robust models to estimate biological parameters. It makes use of catch statistics and can use biological and environmental information about life history traits of a fish population, like its population dynamics and the response of the spawning biomass to fishing and predation, environmental and habitat conditions and food availability.

BlueBRIDGE will develop a service assisting interdisciplinary teams of scientists in particularly relevant phases of the stock assessment process and data dissemination.

 The Stock Assessment VRE in a nutshell

Blue Growth scenario: 
Provide an on-line environment for Stock Assessment for Blue Growth practitioners with the long term strategy to produce evidence based understanding of the status of marine fisheries.

Information on population (e.g. growth, natural mortality, and recruitment), fisheries (e.g. selectivity and the environment) are all used in fisheries stock assessment and management. Without this information, incorrect assumptions can be made with a substantial impact on stock assessment results and resulting management advice. The main challenge is to provide a dedicated environment for stock assessment, including

  • Access to relevant data; 
  • Access to a range of related algorithms and models;
  • Availability of storage and dissemination tools.

The complexity of stock assessment, and the widely varying quality and availability of data and algorithms, is particularly suited to a transparent and collaborative approach. The environment offers a flexible set of algorithms that are as easily discovered as shared, and results are easily published. 
For individual scientist with sophisticated models the computing capacity offered through this VRE promises to boost productivity and, when properly embedded in the underlying infrastructure, citable and reproducible scientific experiments.

Scope/Thematic area
Fisheries Management

Short Description (high level):
Adaptation of a web-based platform to manage data, algorithms, models and data for stock assessment.


  • Data collection
  • Data harmonization to international standards
  • Data publication (optional)
  • Data sharing  
  • Data analysis and Modelling tools
  • Data repositories (SDMX)
  • Data provenance and attribution
  • Metadata management and Master Data Management

Direct beneficiaries: 

  • Resource managers (Countries, regional fisheries management organizations)
  • Scientists; scientific advisory panels 
  • Students

Expected Outcomes: 

  • Structures Statistical datasets (SDMX, DDI, FLUX)
  • Forecast/estimation (catches, abundance, fishing effort...)
  • Management Indicators
  • Visual presentations
  • Reports and Fact-sheets
  • OGC compliant products
  • Knowledge base content (Global record of Stocks and Fisheries)

Existing or similar solutions:

  • No similar solutions exist, but scattered software that can be integrated to produce a comprehensive environment does exists, and their integration is indeed essential for the success of this VRE. 
  • R-packages
  • Private R, JAVA or other programs
Where to access:

Click here to find out more about the VREs that have been released so far