International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
ICES-PICES-PAME Working Group on Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) for the Central Arctic Ocean (WGICA).pdf (1.29 MB)
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ICES-PICES-PAME Working Group on Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) for the Central Arctic Ocean (WGICA)

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posted on 2022-01-30, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The Working Group on the Integrated Assessment of the Central Arctic Ocean (WGICA) aims to provide a holistic analysis of the present and future status of the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO) ecosystem and human activities therein.
Climate change reduces sea ice, increases light penetration, causes regionally variable trends in stratification and mixing of the water column, increases inflow in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors, and heating of waters at the surface and extending deeper.
These changes in turn affect primary production and cascade through the foodweb to ice-associated fauna, zooplankton, fish, benthos, seabirds, and marine mammals. These changes may be exacerbated by increasing human activities in and around the CAO, including increasing pollution from ship traffic and from the transport of contaminants to the ecoregion by rivers and ocean currents. The number of ships and distances travelled are increasing and it is anticipated that both commercial and tourist traffic by sea and air will continue to rise. The CAO is a sink for many pollutants such as microplastics, which have been found in sea ice and wildlife. Current and future threats to the ecoregion from human activities and pressures also include increased risk of oil spills and biodiversity loss if ocean mining expands into the Arctic.
While the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated Fishing in the High Seas Portion of the Central Arctic Ocean entered into force in June 2021 bans commercial fishing in the high seas of the CAO, fish populations continue to be impacted by the effects of a warming ocean, retreating ice cover, and acidification. These threats have important ecological and policy implications for the entire foodweb and the Arctic community.
During this past year, WGICA has further studied and described human activities and resulting pressures. In the next three years, WGICA will identify ecological, economic, social and institutional research questions, further stakeholder involvement, and identify integrated assessment methods that can help evaluate ecosystem conditions and changes.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Scientific Reports





Contributors (Editors)

Martine van den Heuvel-Greve; Lis Lindal Jørgensen; Sei-Ichi Seito

Contributors (Authors)

Mario Acquarone; Paul Arthur Berkman; Bodil Bluhm; Tom Christensen; Alain Dupuis; Karen Edelvang; Hauke Flores; Anne Kirstine Frie; Maria Gavrilo; Harald Gjøsæter; Jackie Grebmeier; Bjørn Einar Grøsvik; Kevin Hedges; Martine van den Heuvel-Greve; Taka Hirata; Alf Håkon Hoel; Haakon Hop; Randi Ingvaldsen; Lis Lindal Jørgensen; Kathy Kuletz; Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm; Anders Mosbech; Jessica Nilsson; Shigeto Nishino; Fujio Ohnishi; Natsuhiko Otsuka; Sei-Ichi Seito; Lisa Speer; Mette Skern-Mauritzen; Cecilie von Quillfeldt



Recommended citation

ICES. 2022. ICES/PICES/PAME Working Group on Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) for the Central Arctic Ocean (WGICA; outcomes from 2021 meeting). ICES Scientific Reports. 4:6. 34 pp.