Working Group on Integrating Surveys for the Ecosystem Approach (WGISUR ; outputs from 2020)
The Working Group on Integrating Surveys for the Ecosystem Approach (WGISUR) explores the integration and further development of the surveys coordinated by ICES to inform the ecosystem approach as well as adding value to existing surveys. The role of WGISUR is to provide guidance on the development of ecosystem monitoring programmes and advice on expanding objectives as surveys with a narrower focus transition towards ecosystem monitoring programmes. In addition, the group provides evaluations of ecosystem monitoring surveys and an opportunity for exchange on developments in ecosystem monitoring. WGISUR leads or assists others in developing workshops to summarize options for optimizing sampling opportunities at-sea, reviewing advances in technology, and exploring options for improving integration of existing surveys.
Workshops were held to review ecosystem sampling opportunities in the North Sea and in the Western Atlantic. These workshops provided advice on how to modify sampling to improve ecosystem monitoring. The review of Western Atlantic surveys led to the initiation of WGNAEO, the Working Group on Northwest Atlantic Ecosystem Observations.
While progress was made in some areas, there has been lethargy in implementing recommendations for modifications to improve integrated ecosystem monitoring in others. While workshops involving fisheries and ecosystem biologists have been able to develop proposals for ecosystem surveys, when it comes to implementing these proposals operationally, there has been less support and uptake.
WGISUR advises to include end-users in the discussions on how these surveys could collect additional ecosystem information and especially in the discussions on which additional data will be collected and get their support for the additional data collection. In addition, it is proposed that for many regions, a summary of what surveys and sampling are already in place, what monitoring data are being collected and how they could be better integrated may be needed as a precursor for developing support for modifying existing surveys.
The group should continue to summarize technological advances in ecosystem monitoring and provide summaries for survey and assessment working groups. The group should work with the Chair of EOSG to identify a Region for which there is an interest in convening a workshop to review existing sampling and data gaps. This would provide the background for identifying data gaps or lack of integration in data collection and a stronger rationale for proposing integrated ecosystem monitoring in a Region.
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