DOI: 10.1101/489260Dec 6, 2018Paper

Ecosystem models of Lake Victoria (East Africa): exploring the sensitivity of ecosystem effects of fishing to model choice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Vianny NatugonzaGunnar Stefansson


Ecosystem simulation models are valuable tools for strengthening and promoting ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). However, utility of these models in practical fisheries management is often undermined by lack of simple means to test the effect of uncertainty on model outputs. Recently, the use of multiple ecosystem models has been recommended as an ‘insurance’ against effects of uncertainty that comes with modelling complex systems. The assumption is that if models with different structure and formulation give consistent results, then, policy prescriptions are robust (i.e. less sensitive to model choice). However, information on the behaviour of trends from structurally-distinct ecosystem models with respect to changes in fishing conditions is limited, especially for freshwater systems. In this study, we compared outputs of two ecosystem models, Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) and Atlantis, for Lake Victoria under different fishing pressure scenarios. We compared model behaviour at the ecosystem level, and also at a level of functional groups. At functional group level, we determined two questions: what is the change in the targeted group, and what are the consequent effects in other parts of the system? Overall results sug...Continue Reading

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