5. Overall procedure
It is important to realise that the workshop is only one part of an overall process needed to produce a SOME report. We assume that a country or a Regional Seas authority has decided to conduct a SOME assessment and have concluded that the SOME-EE approach will deliver the optimum quality product within the available budget. From this point onwards, the procedure will take approximately 4 to 6 months and can be generally described with the following steps (Fig. 2):
Step 1: Prospective experts are identified by the workshop organisers, the Regional Seas national focal points (RSNFP) and invited to participate. An announcement could be made by the RSNFP in conjunction with regional fisheries agencies and the ODIN National Coordinators (NC-IOC) to ensure broad participation. This step is critical because if the experts invited are not representative of all aspects of the marine environment, or if they are skewed in number towards one particular sector (eg. fisheries), then the assessment will be biased. In most cases a minimum of about 20 experts, with at least 5 from each of the key discipline areas (fisheries and biology, physical sciences and socioeconomics) will be needed. Experts representing the full range of marine sectors are needed to produce a rigorous assessment. Upon acceptance, each participant will be provided with a detailed background paper on the assessment process (this paper).
Step 2: Workshop organisers identify and collate relevant information and make it available to experts via the SOME web site: . At this time, experts may also identify and add important reference data and publications. Data and information can be added to the system as external links or uploaded to the web site.
Step 3: All experts are provided with access to the web page containing the initial pro-forma assessment. Experts will be requested to review and make suggestions on the parameters for condition, threats and risk, and the elicitation procedures. They will also review the collated relevant information and suggest additions.
Step 4: The workshop is held, attended by the appointed experts, and scores are recorded in real time on the web page for the parameters as described below. During the workshop, experts will be encouraged to volunteer to participate in the subsequent report-writing phase of the process.
Step 5: Post-workshop, the data on condition and risk assessment is compiled and interpreted by the workshop organisers. An editorial committee is selected among the national experts and they add introductory and discussion text as needed. The draft is circulated to all participant experts via the web page for updating and corrections as needed, including recording of key references and anchors that may have been overlooked.
Step 6: Experts are asked to review the web page containing the initial assessment results and descriptive text. Experts will be requested to review for final checking, updating and corrections as necessary.
Figure 2. Diagram illustrating the time-line for one complete cycle of the SOME-EE process. Approximately four to six months is needed to plan and execute the process.