International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Working Group on Cumulative Effects Assessment Approaches in Management (WGCEAM).pdf (1.54 MB)

Working Group on Cumulative Effects Assessment Approaches in Management (WGCEAM)

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posted on 2020-10-30, 00:00 authored by ICESICES

The goal of the Working Group on Cumulative Effects Assessment Approaches in Management (WGCEAM) is the development of a common and consolidated CEA framework to implement such assessments in different planning and regulatory context considering the different settings regarding data, knowledge, and decision-processes. Case studies are used to further develop the framework. This work is expected to provide guidance on data and knowledge needs to apply such a common CEA framework in different planning and regulatory settings.

Throughout the first meeting of the working group, a cumulative effects assessment framework for management was developed and two case studies (i.e. North Sea and the Gulf of St Lawrence) were identified as the proof of concept to be reviewed at the next WGCEAM meeting. 

The  CEA  framework  allows  identifying  and  prioritizing  the  pressures  that  would  need  to  be  addressed by management measures based on the vulnerability of the ecosystem components to those pressures. The rationale and setting of the framework differs clearly from a typical ecosystem status assessment where the responses of indicators are assessed to quantify the effects of human  pressures.  Hence,  while  the  framework  can  provide  information  on  which  ecosystem  components are potentially mostly at risk, i.e. through the overall quantification of the cumulative effects across all pressures, the focus is on the effect potential for each pressure-ecosystem component relationship as this is key to guide management. Effects per se are not readily actionable  in  a  management  and,  in  particular  in  regulatory,  context  because  observed  or  predicted  effects are the result of multiple factors that are influenced by the variability of the spatial and temporal  distribution  of  the  pressures,  the  ecosystem  response  including  various  natural  processes. Furthermore, it is also not intended to guide in detail regulatory management on a sector by sector basis as it is intended to provide more strategic advice aimed at identifying from the collective pressures and related human activities which sectors primarily require management regulations.

The framework assesses the vulnerabilities of ecosystem components to cumulative or collected pressures for a given ecosystem and management context. Following standard risk-based assessment practices, vulnerability is determined from the exposure (both spatial and temporal) of a specific  ecosystem  component  to  the  different  pressures  and  the  effect  potential  based  on  the  pressure load and the resistance and recovery potential of that ecosystem component.

In 2020, the WG focused on the development of the case studies. This helped to identify general issues around the application of the framework. Such issues comprised the identification of spatial and temporal boundaries, a common understanding of the evaluation elements such as resistance and recovery, or the application of standardised criteria to assess vulnerabilities. Finally, the group discussed the future use of the framework in the ICES advisory process. The development  of  a  guidance  of  the  framework  and  the  embedding  in  the  advisory  process  will  be  addressed at the next meeting.


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)

Roland Cormier; Gerjan Piet; Vanessa Stelzenmüller

Contributors (Authors)

Robert Aps; Silvana Birchenough; Melanie Boivin; Alicia Cassidy; Kelly Code; Roland Cormier; Sophie Cormier; Brad Firth; Niel Fisher; Carole Godin; Matthew Gubbins; Adrian Judd; Alain Mallet; Terry Melanson; Darcy Pickard; Gerjan Piet; Stacey Rehel; Christine Sabean; Fernand Savoie; Mette Skern-Mauritzen; Vanessa Stelzenmüller; Tyler Tunney; Hilary White; Daniel Wood



Recommended citation

ICES. 2020. Working Group on Cumulative Effects Assessment Approaches in Management (WGCEAM). ICES Scientific Reports. 2:101. 20 pp.

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