Gadget is the Globally applicable Area-Disaggregated General Ecosystem Toolbox. Gadget is a powerful and flexible framework that has been developed to model complicated statistical marine ecosystems within a fisheries management and biological context, and can take many features of the ecosystem into account. Gadget allows the user to include a number of features of the ecosystem into the model: One or more species, each of which may be split into multiple components; multiple areas with migration between areas; predation between and within species; growth; maturation; reproduction and recruitment; multiple commercial and survey fleets taking catches from the populations. Gadget works by running an internal forward projection model based on many parameters describing the ecosystem, and then comparing the output from this model to observed measurements to get a likelihood score. The model ecosystem parameters can then be adjusted, and the model re-run, until an optimum is found, which corresponds to the model with the lowest likelihood score. This iterative, computationally intensive process is handled within Gadget, using a robust minimisation algorithm. Gadget has successfully been used to investigate the population dynamics of stock complexes in Icelandic waters, the Barents Sea, the North Sea, the Irish and Celtic Seas and the Sofala Bank fishery of Mozambique. This paper describes the structure and main components of an ecosystem model developed using the Gadget framework.
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