Forecasting the Impacts of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative (VOI)


The Vibrant Oceans Initiative (VOI) is a collaborative five-year effort between Bloomberg Philanthropies, SFG, Rare, Oceana, and Encourage Capital to boost fish populations through fisheries reform in Brazil, the Philippines, and Chile. Together, these three countries make up 7% of the world’s fisheries. Aside from providing technical support to Fish Forever, one of VOI’s management interventions, SFG’s has developed a forecasting tool that predicts the impacts of fisheries reforms and applies the framework to specific VOI interventions and species in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines. At each intervention site, we model the potential impacts on biomass in the water, catch, and revenue that could result from the intervention, relative to a business-as-usual scenario.


The purpose of VOI is to generate reliable forecasts of the biological and socioeconomic benefits resulting from marine conservation and fisheries interventions. The timing and magnitude of these benefits are both uncertain, often occurring long after the implementation of the intervention, and this can have the effect of reducing stakeholder support for interventions overtime. Furthermore, when a fishery’s recovery is slow and demands a long monitoring and evaluation cycle, it can be difficult to expedite positive outcomes through improved intervention design alone. To address these challenges, we developed an empirically-informed forecasting tool that projects the potential outcomes of marine conservation interventions and aids key stakeholders and conservation partners in decision-making. We have adapted and applied this forecasting tool to selected VOI interventions and species in Brazil, the Philippines, and Chile to assess the potential outcomes of interventions implemented by Rare and Oceana.


Expanding upon the global model developed by Chris Costello and SFG, we have developed an adaptable, data-driven modeling framework that can be adjusted based on the data availability, management interventions, and target species of the three different country contexts. In order to accurately forecast the impacts of VOI efforts, we have worked closely with Oceana and Rare to understand the key interventions they are applying in each country, and which species are likely to be affected. We have also engaged with local fisheries scientists and partners in each country to validate our preliminary model assumptions and identify available data inputs for the model. Our model is customized based on data availability, the type of intervention, and species being targeted to forecast potential increases in biomass and catch resulting from VOI interventions. In addition to a final written report that summarizes our model outputs, we have developed a user-friendly web interface that allows our partners and other stakeholders to interact with and understand the models we developed. 


Forecasting the Impacts of VOI is a collaborative effort between SFG, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Oceana, and Rare