2nd Interim Report of the Working Group on the Northwest Atlantic Regional Sea (WGNARS)
reportposted on 2015-05-18, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The sixth meeting of the Working Group on the Northwest Atlantic Regional Sea (WGNARS), chaired by Robin Anderson, Canada and Sarah Gaichas, USA, was held at the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Secretariat in Dartmouth, NS, 23–27 February 2015. The meeting was attended by 12 participants from the US and Canada, with an additional eight participants calling in to portions of the meeting. The overarching objective of WGNARS is to develop Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) capacity in the Northwest Atlantic region to support ecosystem approaches to science and management. The NW Atlantic region has well-developed ocean observa-tion systems, marine ecosystem surveys and habitat studies, though social and eco-nomic data collection systems are less well developed, and steps are being taken throughout the region to organize existing information and effectively communicate it to stakeholders and decision-makers. These continuing synthesis efforts were re-viewed at the meeting.In this meeting, the group maintained a working format with emphasis on group dis-cussion, interaction, analysis, and decision-making. WGNARS aims to produce paral-lel products: “worked examples” of linked IEA components making best use of the collective expertise in the group (primarily natural and social sciences and fisher-ies/ocean management), and more general scientific advice on the process for opera-tional IEA implementation in the Northwest Atlantic. In 2014, the group identified two specific ecoregions to be compared within the Northwest Atlantic Regional Sea: the Georges Bank/Gulf of Maine ecoregion and the Grand Banks ecoregion. Sessions in 2015 were designed to achieve two main goals: (1) identifying alternative management strategies to achieve objectives outlined in 2014 and (2) identifying multiscale ecosys-tem responses to large-scale drivers and key human activities outlined in 2014. (Bottom water temperature, surface water temperature, sea ice cover and timing, freshwater input, stratification and salinity were identified as key large-scale biophysical drivers. Fishing and energy development and/or exploitation were identified as the major large-scale anthropogenic interactions.) This work is in preparation for an ecosystem-level management strategy evaluation (MSE) in 2016.