Workshop on the design and scope of the 3rd generation of ICES Ecosystem Overviews (WKEO3)
Ecosystem Overviews (EOs) are central products in the ICES approach to support Ecosystem Based Management, through providing the ecoregion context, identifying main pressures, associated human activities and impacts on ecosystem state. The WKEO3 explored and discussed both stakeholder/client and expert views on the development of the EOs, and assessed new products to be included in shorter or longer terms.
There was general agreement to maintain EOs as brief synthetic products to provide the narra-tive for each ecoregion and thereby setting the broader ecosystem context for other ICES (and usually more focused) advice products (such as fisheries overviews, fishing opportunities and environmental impact assessments). Also, it was suggested that EOs can highlight the broad expertise of ICES and point to the range of our excellent products to support advice and management.
Based on stakeholder views and suggestions by meeting participants on the importance and ma-turity of scientific products, the WKEO3 identified 8 high-priority candidate sections to be in-cluded into the EOs over the next 1–3 years, that have the potential to meet the requirements related to quality, accessibility, transparency and reproducibility. These topics include i) management objectives, ii) fisheries impact on the seabed, iii) climate predictions and projections, iv) productivity changes, v) mapping vulnerable areas, vi) linking pressures to ecosystem functions and processes, vii) a general overview of ecosystem structure, and vii) food web modelling to quantify links and impacts. An EO pipeline process should be established to secure the development of EOs on the longer term, which should encourage wider engagement, harvesting of new ideas from the expert groups, and provide a more formalized development process and testing ground for new products.
The EOs technical guidance document should include a short introduction that clarifies the cur-rent position on a series of questions and debates such as the targeted audience, ICES areas following EEZ and some biogeographical features, and guidance on update cycles. In particular, the use of references in the text may be better integrated if web-based formats are developed.
The technical guidelines for the EO conceptual figure on human activities, regional pressures and ecosystem state components, together with the associated risk assessment framework, need revision to ensure consistency and transparency of assessments. A dedicated workshop was pro-posed as a high priority action, to review approaches and frameworks assessing and prioritizing among activities, pressures and impacts, and to adapt a simplified set of best guidelines for the EOs.
The workshop supported the move of EOs from PDF formats to web-based products, that pro-vide new opportunities for tailoring product presentations to different audiences. Such develop-ment is challenged by limited capacity in the ICES secretariat. To strengthen the science commu-nication of ICES in general, including the EOs, the meeting participants suggested exploring opportunities for establishing an ICES Strategic Initiative on Science Communication.
A record should be kept of where and how EOs are being used by the community including the clients, stakeholders, and the public and communicated to the IEA group as feedback.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee