Baltic salmon and herring provide a rich source of Omega3 fatty acids and vitamin D for humans. The value of these fishes as a source of food is, however, low due to their high concentration of dioxin and dioxin-like PCBs. This is reflected in consumer demand for fish products and affects management decisions, fishing, the fish stocks and the whole Baltic Sea ecosystem. GOHERR analyses the potential of ecosystem-based management in decreasing the dioxin content in salmon and herring while ensuring the sustainable use of the resources. A decrease in dioxin concentration can restore the significance of salmon and herring as healthy local source of food, make the prerequisites for fishing livelihood more stable, and improve the image of the whole Baltic Sea.
The ecosystem approach requires holistic thinking and comprehensive representations of the ecosystem, including social components. Adaptive management and integrated management are seen as tools for responding to the challenges of the ecosystem approach. The aim of GOHERR is to develop an integrated governance framework involving stakeholders, and a related decision support tool for the management of Baltic herring and salmon stocks. The framework combines the health of the Baltic Sea with the health of humans, and the dynamics of the ecosystem with human values and behaviour. It will be analysed 1) what are the socio-cultural and political prerequisites for successful integrated fisheries governance, and what kind of institutional, organisational, structural and attitudinal flexibility is needed, 2) if and how integrated fisheries governance can benefit the sector based management of Baltic herring and salmon, the stakeholders, and eventually consumers in terms of reduced dioxin content in fish, and 3) how integrated governance at the regional level can be linked to governance at the national and international levels.
The project combines social scientific, biological and medical research by using Bayesian decision analysis, value of control (VOC) analysis and value of information (VOI) analysis. The project is expected to enhance the understanding of integrated governance. It will suggest ways for bridging policy sectors and stakeholder perspectives in ecosystem-based governance. Finally, the project will produce new knowledge related to the interaction between Baltic salmon and herring stocks and the impact of this on dioxin concentration, as well as to the socio-cultural values of these fish resources.
The other partners of GOHERR are University of Aalborg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, National Institute for Health and Welfare, and the University of Oulu. The project is funded by the Baltic Sea Research and Development Programme BONUS (2015-2017).