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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Due to human-induced climate change, sea surface temperatures are increasing. As a result, a gradual poleward shift in ocean ecosystems is underway. Described very simply, areas that were previously cold are becoming more temperate, and areas that were temperate are becoming more tropical. It is anticipated that, over time, ocean habitats and species ranges will follow the water temperature regime with which they are associated, provided there is adequate connectivity.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Report: Significant marine extinction possible unless multiple ocean stressors reduced

Multiple ocean stressors - warming, acidification, overfishing, and more - together represent a great risk to marine and human life if the current trajectory of these stressors continues, including the possibility of a major extinction event of marine species. This is the conclusion of 27 ocean experts who gathered at an April 2011 workshop at the University of Oxford, convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

By Sarah Carr

A growing number of tools help managers and policymakers to quantify, map, and value the many services that ecosystems provide to people. Tools can also help determine how management and policy decisions may affect such services. Three tools that aid in assessing ecosystem services are:

MPA News

It is not uncommon for marine protected areas to be designated with the protection of a particular species or group of species in mind. There are MPAs for many commercially valuable fish species, for example, as well as MPAs for sharks or sea birds or corals. There are also protected areas for marine mammals. This last group of MPAs in particular has experienced a boom in numbers in recent years. In 2004 according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, there were 358 marine mammal protected areas worldwide.

MPA News

Conservation of biodiversity on the high seas took a significant step forward in June: a working group of the United Nations General Assembly recommended the establishment of a process that could lead to a multilateral agreement on high seas conservation and sustainable use. Specifically the recommendations call for crafting a legal regime under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to conserve marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction - including by designating MPAs. Currently no mechanism exists to designate MPAs on the high seas that would apply to all nations.

MPA News

Dear MPA News:

I am writing regarding your article on the Australian Government's proposal for a network of eight new MPAs for the country's South-west marine region ("Australia Announces Plan for Large Network of MPAs off SW Coast", MPA News 12:6).

MPA News

User-friendly guide on marine and coastal EBM offers several examples from MPAs

A new publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) applies a reader-friendly approach to help countries and communities move toward ecosystem-based management of oceans and coasts. Drawing on practical experience and lessons from around the world, the guide serves as an introduction to EBM principles and applications, and provides an overview of the general phases involved. It provides more than two-dozen examples of EBM in practice, including several from MPAs worldwide.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

A new publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) applies a reader-friendly approach to help countries and communities move toward ecosystem-based management of oceans and coasts. Drawing on practical experience and lessons from around the world, the guide serves as an introduction to EBM principles and applications, and provides an overview of the general phases involved. In addition to its text-based advice, the guide's multiple diagrams explain the core elements of EBM in a simple visual way, such as the concepts of cumulative impacts and managing for multiple objectives.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

A basic concept in ecosystem-based management is that, when managers make decisions, they will consider the full array of natural and human elements and interactions that make up an ecosystem. By that account, a necessary initial step in EBM is for managers to define what their target ecosystem is. Is it small, involving a single bay, for example - or is it really big, encompassing a large marine ecosystem that crosses national boundaries?

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)

Many agencies tout their commitment to adopting an ecosystem approach to management. What is actually meant by this commitment, and whether it constitutes a move toward ecosystem-based management, is open to question. The terms are often used without clear definition or, when defined, use so much jargon as to be indecipherable.

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