Evaluation of the European Fish Index: false-positive and false-negative error rate to detect disturbance and consistency with alternative fish indices

Paul Quataert, Jan Breine, Ilse Simoens

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

    Abstract

    An important requirement for meeting obligations under the European Water Framework Directive is the development of a fish-based index that is able to predict the ecological status of surface waters, and particularly be able to distinguish between (nearly) pristine and disturbed conditions. The European Fish Index (EFI), based on the concept of the Index of Biological Integrity, was developed alongside alternative models such as the Spatially Based Method on a European level (SBM-EU), for this purpose. A critical issue about these models is that they are simple to use but are able to predict whether a site is disturbed with a high degree of precision. From this perspective, two prediction errors need to be small: falsely declaring a site disturbed when it is not (falsepositive error; FP) and wrongly classifying a disturbed site as undisturbed (false-negative error, FN). For the EFI, the overall FP rate was 22% and the FN rate was 19%. The performance was better for the SBM-EU method with a smaller FP rate of 7% and an FN rate of 20%, but the EFI is preferred because, with only marginal loss of precision, it is far less complex. The EFI consists of a single model based on 10 fish metrics, while the SBM-EU comprises 12 models covering 49 metrics. Comparison of the EFI with existing national or regional fish-based assessment methods found major discrepancies that make intercalibration between these methods impractical.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFisheries Management and Ecology
    Volume14
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)465-472
    Number of pages8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Thematic list

    • Environment
    • Species and biotopes

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology

    Taxonomic list

    • fishes (Pisces)

    Policy

    • Water Framework Directive

    Geographic list

    • Europe

    Technological

    • modelling

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