Moving towards integrated ecosystem monitoring
Monitoring at sea has taken place for a long time. Over time, management requirements have changed, and focus has shifted from “studying one specific topic”, such as hydrography, chlorophyll, or fish species, to a wider ecosystem scope. Technological developments and improved insights on ecosystem functioning provide the opportunity to re-evaluate current marine monitoring strategies. This report provides guidance on the development of ecosystem monitoring, defined here as “the monitoring of one or more components of the ecosystem”. The guidance is developed under the umbrella of the ICES Working Group on Integrating Surveys for the Ecosystem Approach (WGISUR). This report is focused around platform-based approaches, usually research vessels. It is influenced by the framework for ICES coordinated surveys, which use national efforts to collect information on fish abundance, diversity, and distribution. However, it is set up in such a manner that the general concepts can be useful for integrating other marine monitoring. The report describes how moving towards ecosystem monitoring can take place through three different approaches: a) starting ecosystem monitoring from the very beginning; b) redesigning existing monitoring by combining new objectives with existing objectives; or c) adding data collection to existing monitoring without changing the design.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee