ICES fisheries advice goes interactive

adviceXplorer allows users to visualize single-stock fisheries advice.
Published: 30 June 2023

​​​ICES launches adviceXplorer today, a new app that visualizes ICES fisheries advice. Users can now access and interact directly with the data behind ICES advice figures.  

This is an important step towards ICES advice sheets becoming fully interactive, opening the advice up for wider use and understanding. The app also links to ICES library where users can find the classic pdf file. 

Advice release 

When ICES releases its scientific advice, it is published in our online library and links to the 
advice documents are emailed to the advice requesters. However, much of the underlying 
data used to develop the advice, the advice itself, and the catch scenarios provided can only be found in these advice sheets. As such, these data are not readily downloadable.  

Over the past two years, a team at ICES Secretariat has been working to translate the advice 
data from the static advice sheet to an interactive online tool. The motivation to develop the 
app started with a Special Request from the European Commission in 2018:
Could ICES develop a more interactive advice product with a simple, easy-to-use interface? In parallel, there were informal requests asking ICES to develop a database that would store catch scenario information, as well as basic information such as the headline advice. These requests, coupled with a desire across the network to have the advice sheet information more readily accessible, initiated the work on adviceXplorer. 

One of the main challenges has been to develop a shiny app  robust enough to handle the volume and diversity of advice and data outputs found across ICES stocks while providing a seamless user experience. Feedback on the beta version has led to much-improved accessibility on tablets and smartphones. 

Diving in with single-stock advice 

Single-stock advice, mixed-fisheries advice, and fisheries overviews - ICES publishes various types of fisheries advice. Single-stock advice was chosen as the starting point for the new app as this is by far the most extensive advice product, it has a standard format that works well with the app, and, as a single product, is the most viewed of all ICES products. 

ICES provides single-stock advice for more than 200 stocks. The app currently contains advice data for most stocks across ICES region, including the advice released today for Bay of Biscay and Iberian CoastCeltic Seas, and Greater North Sea fish stocks. 

The app is populated with data from various ICES databases - ICES Spatial Facility, Stock Assessment Graphs, Stock Information Database, and Advice and Scenarios Database and users can access the advice data for the past six years.

What exactly can users do?  

Users can select a fish stock by ecoregion, assessment year, or stock code. Once selected, users can view the stock's development over time. All plots are interactive, data can be downloaded, and there is a direct link to the advice in the library. 

Catch scenarios 

In addition to the headline advice for each stock, ICES advice sheets usually include a number of alternative catch scenarios to demonstrate how different catch levels would impact on the fishing pressure and stock development. 

The newly developed Advice and Scenarios Database allows the new app (and users) to access and download the advice, catch scenarios, and other metadata regarding the advice itself. 

The app offers four options to view catch scenarios. The traditional catch scenario table, catch timeseries, radial plot, and lollipop plot. 

Looking forward, we plan to integrate the Transparent Assessment Framework (TAF) with adviceXplorer and to create a suite of similar apps, allowing users to access the Fisheries Overviews  and mixed-fisheries advice data in a similar way. 

Try out adviceXplorer now. 


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ICES fisheries advice goes interactive

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