OSPAR request - Review of Draft OSPAR ICG-COBAM Advice Manual on Biodiversity
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD; 2008/56/EC) calls upon EU Member States (MS) to develop criteria and methodological standards to allow consistency in approach in evaluating the extent to which Good Environmental Status (GES) is being achieved. MS are required to provide indicators of GES to the European Commission by July 2012, using the guidance provided in the Commission Decision document (2010/477/EU). A number of reports have been published relating to the descriptors of GES, including eight reports facilitated by the JRC and ICES and two (Contaminants in fish and other seafood and Marine litter) facilitated by DG SANCO and IFREMER respectively. OSPAR is coordinating the MSFD implementation process for the OSPAR Maritime Area and established an Interses-sional Correspondence Group on Coordination of Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring (ICG-COBAM). This group organised an expert workshop 23–24 November 2010 in Utrecht, Netherlands (BDC 11/4/2-E) to consider the definition of GES for the biodiversity descriptors, and to recommend appropriate indicators, targets and assessment tools. A prod-uct of this workshop is an Advice Manual aimed at national experts and policy makers who will be directly involved in this work at MS and Regional Sea levels.
Of the 11 Descriptors of GES, the Advice Manual deals with 4:
D1. Biological diversity is maintained. The quality and occurrence of habitats and the distribution and abundance of species are in line with prevailing physiographic, geographic and climatic conditions.
D2. Non-indigenous species introduced by human activities are at levels that do not adversely alter the ecosystems.
D4. All elements of the marine food webs, to the extent that they are known, occur at normal abundance and diver-sity and levels capable of ensuring the long-term abundance of the species and the retention of their full repro-ductive capacity.
D6. Sea-floor integrity is at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems are safeguarded and benthic ecosystems, in particular, are not adversely affected.
OSPAR has requested ICES to peer review a draft Advice Manual made available in April 2011. The objective of this peer review is to provide expert comments for consideration in revisions to the Advice Manual prior to publication.
The complete terms of reference for the request from OSPAR is found in Annex A. This document records the reviews of 5 independent scientists whose work was overseen by one of them. This does not constitute ICES advice but rather the consensus view of those independent scientists.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee