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July 2023 Newsletter

In this month's newsletter:

  • Natural Capital Scenario Analysis of the North Sea Sandeel Fishery

  • Thea Sletten Promoted to Director for Chemicals Policy 

  • Potluck Lunch & Summer in the eftec Office


Now Published: North Sea Sandeels Fishery Natural Capital Scenario Analysis



Sandeels, pictured above in the mouth of a puffin, are small fish described as a ‘cornerstone of the Scottish marine ecosystem’. Sandeels sit towards the bottom of the food chain so changes in their numbers can have far reaching implications across the marine ecosystem. Our project found that reducing sandeel fishing by half increases stocks of sandeels and other marine animals by 6%, while if fishing is halted this increase could be as high as 27%.


The report, which has now been published by Defra, contributed to the government's decision to prevent any fishing of the UK’s sandeel quota in the North Sea in 2022. This decision was reiterated for the 2023 season last month.


About the WorkIn 2021 we produced a natural capital account of the industrial sandeel fishery in the North Sea (ICES Subarea IV region) with ABPmer. We also modelled the impacts of two fisheries management scenarios: 50% reduction in sandeel fishery, and closure of the fishery. The project was commissioned by Natural England, funded through Defra’s Marine Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (mNCEA) programme.


The natural capital account helps integrate the dynamic biological and fisheries data from the Ecopath with Ecosim model into economic decision-making for well-informed resource management decisions. With modelling support from CEFAS, outputs from the Ecopath with Ecosim model suggest that reducing or closing the sandeel fishery would increase the stocks of sandeels, fish, seabirds that feed on sandeels, and mammal populations in the ecosystem. For the reduced scenario this increase could be 6%, whereas for the closure scenario it could be as high as 27%. 


What’s more, by reversing the practice of ‘fishing down the food chain’, we find that the value of landings of fish does not decline: in fact, it slightly increases. This is due to catches being of higher average value per tonne, partially because stocks of predatory fish increase as they feed on higher numbers of sandeels.


For more detail and to find our recommendations and future research, browse the executive summary or read the full report here.



Thea Sletten Promoted to Director of Chemicals Policy



We are happy to announce that Thea Marcelia Sletten has been promoted to Director of our Chemicals Policy work.


When Thea joined us in 2018, she was already experienced in applying economics for chemicals policy. Thea worked for the Norwegian Environment Agency as a lead economist for chemicals policy and was appointed by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment to serve on the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC), a position which she held for four years. Currently, she holds an advisory role for the UK government through the Independent Scientific Expert Pool (RISEP) under UK REACH.  


At eftec, Thea has worked on a wide range of projects including REACH restrictions, authorisations, risk management option analyses (RMOAs) and studies of economic incentives for substitutions. She has supported industry, national governments, ECHA, and NGOs with economic analysis for a variety of policy measures, whilst also being actively involved in the development of methodology for assessing socio-economic impacts of regulating chemicals.  


As a Director, Thea will lead her team to further success as they continue to deliver on technically challenging, novel, and important chemicals policy projects for many years to come.


Congratulations to Thea! We are lucky to have her at eftec.



Potluck Lunch & Summer in the eftec Office



We’ve been enjoying the warm & rainy summer in our still-relatively-new office and celebrated this month with our second potluck lunch. Salads, curries, pastries, cakes, and everything in between were made by the team and shared for a hearty lunch. In typical eftec style, the leftovers fed us for days!


We hope you are all finding time to enjoy summer with colleagues and friends.


And with that, time to get back to work (maybe after another cookie…)

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