shutterstock 203525911The 6th EA Workshop on Ecosystem Approach Guidelines and Integrated Ecosystem Assessment, co-sponsored by the Joint Ecosystem Approach Expert Group (PAME, AMAP, CAFF, SDWG) and the ICES was held 9-11 january 2018 in Seattle, WA, USA.

Program, background documents and registration:
  • Workshop program here
  • Background document here
Workshop objectives:
1. Scope and start work on development of guidelines for Ecosystem Approach to management (EA) in the Arctic.
2. Review status of work on developing and doing Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) to develop best practices for Arctic IEA.

Background: The Joint (PAME, AMAP, CAFF, SDWG) Ecosystem Approach expert group (EA-EG) has held 5 workshops in 2011-2015 on various aspects of development of EA to the management of Arctic marine ecosystems. A first International Conference on EA implementation in the Arctic was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in August 2016.

The Joint EA-EG prepared a report on ‘Status of Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Management in the Arctic’ (download here) that was delivered through PAME to Senior Arctic Officials and Ministers. In the Fairbanks Declaration from the Ministerial meeting in May 2016, the ministers reaffirmed the need for an ecosystem approach to management in the Arctic, and encouraged future efforts to develop practical guidelines for implementing an ecosystem approach. The Joint EA-EG has developed a framework with six elements for implementing the EA in the Arctic.

The first element is to identify (geographically) the ecosystem to be managed, and this has been done through delineation of the Arctic marine environment into 18 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs-download here). Another key element of the framework is Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA), which is the step where the overall conditions and status of the ecosystem are assessed, including impacts (singular and cumulative) of human activities which take place or are planned in the given ecosystem.Carrying out an IEA is scientifically demanding, but is nevertheless essential for effective EA implementation.

The work at the 6th EA workshop will focus on two related subjects:
  • Development of EA guidelines, as requested by the Arctic Council ministers1, and
  • share and summarize information and experiences with integrated assessments of ecosystem status as a step toward developing best practices for Arctic IEA, for measuring trends and pressures for coastal and marine areas (which is a follow-up of EBM recommendation 3.5 from Kiruna in 2013).
The 6th EA workshop is co-sponsored by the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which has established regional working groups for doing IEAs, e.g. for the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea LMEs, including one group jointly with PAME and PICES for the Central Arctic Ocean (WGICA). Within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the USA, there is a program for IEA which is also supporting the planning and conduct of the workshop. The planning group for the workshop will prepare a background document that will be circulated to participants prior to the workshop in January. The background document will provide more information and guidance for the work to be carried out at the workshop.

1 Fairbanks Declaration (2017), paragraph 32: Reaffirm the need for an ecosystem approach to management in the Arctic, welcome the Status of Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Management in the Arctic Report, and encourage future efforts to develop practical guidelines for implementing an ecosystem approach.


Session 1: Definitions, concepts and EA framework
Session 2: Guidelines for EA implementation in the Arctic (breakout groups)
  • No presentations
Session 3: Practical experience with IEA
Session 3A - ICES work and experiences in IEA
Session 3B – NOAA IEA program
  • IEA in Alaska (joint PDF)
    • Eastern Bering Sea (Kirstin Holsman)
    • Gulf of Alaska (Jamal Moss)
  • IEA in California Current (Chris Harvey)
  • Ecosystem Status Reports/ Ecosystem Considerations (Stephani Zador AFSC)
  • Traditonal Knowledge and Co-managment (TBC)
  • Local and Traditonal Knowledge (Harry Brower)
  • Non-market Valuation (Dan Lew, AFSC)
  • Human Dimensions (Steve Kasperski, AFSC)
  • Risk Assessment (Jameal Samhouri, NWFSC)

Session 3C – Experiences from IEA work in the Arctic Council and other jurisdictional frameworks 
shutterstock 603500291The Workshop on marine protected area (MPA) networks in a changing Arctic climate was held at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) on September 21-22, 2017.

The workshop was one in a MPA workshop series supporting PAME's work on studying best practices for linking area-based conservation measures to categories of Arctic marine biodiversity in support of the long-term conservation of the Arctic marine environment and associated services and cultural values. Key aspects of this collective work within the Arctic Council include ways to build and strengthen networks of MPAs in the context of climate change and ocean acidification, as well as incorporating traditional and local knowledge (TLK).

The aim of the workshop was to take stock of the current scientific understanding (including TLK) and identify important new research questions on MPA networks and how such networks, and other area-based measures, may be used to decrease the negative effects of climate change and ocean acidification and their interactions with other human induced stressors in the Arctic. The workshop also briefly touched on data availability related to these questions.

Outputs of the workshop will be published as:
  • meeting report that aims to contribute to the scientific basis for the potential of MPAs to meet the threats posed to Arctic ecosystems and livelihoods, and
  • a concise report card for targeted to decision makers and a wider audience.

 Name of presentation  Presenter   Download
SYKE - Finnish Environment Institute: Marine Research Center Paula Kankaanpää   Download
How Arctic Marine Protected Area Networks may reduce negative effects of climate change & ocean acidification Jessica Nilsson  Download
Arctic Climate Change Michael Tjernström   Download
Acidification of the Arctic Ocean, the basis for AMAP Arctic Ocean Acidification case studies Leif G. Anderson  Download
CBMP/ CAFF activities Update on work of relevance for PAME MPA work Tom Christensen  Download
Ten-step recipe for creating and managing effective marine protected areas Mark Carr  Download
Climate Change Report Cards - The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Experience and Arctic Possibilities John Baxter and Dan Laffoley  Download
Protecting marine areas beneath Antarctic ice shelves: Special Areas for Scientific Study Susie Grant  Download
 The Journey towards a Weddell Sea Marine Protected Area Thomas Brey  Download
The Ross Sea Region MPA George M. Watters  Download
Networks, platforms and the winds of change: MPA's and climate change in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM) HELCOM  Download
Barents Sea MMBI Research Cruises Gennady Matishov  Download
Radioactive contamination issues in the Arctic Nadezhda Kasatkina  Download
iicwgAll of the national ice services have joined together in the International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG). Formed in 1999, the IICWG is a recognized collaboration of national ice services promoting standardization, product development, and best practices to most effectively serve their collective clients. Shipping, by its very nature, is international and the IICWG believes that mariners should have access to a consistent quantity, quality, and presentation of ice information when travelling among multiple national regimes. To that end, the IICWG has worked continuously to implement standard notation, symbology, and “look-and-feel” for ice charts, including electronic representation for Electronic Navigation Chart Systems (S-411). The IICWG collaborates closely with the Joint Commission on Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Expert Team on Sea Ice (ETSI) to codify these standards and best practices in publications such as the Sea Ice Nomenclature (WMO-No.259), Sea-Ice Information Services in the World (WMO- No.574) and the Manual for Marine Meteorological Services (WMO-No.558). To help ensure a consistently high level of quality, the IICWG and ETSI conduct regular Ice Analyst Workshops to share training opportunities among its member services. On behalf of the IICWG and ETSI, the German Ice Service operates the Ice Logistics Portal which hosts ice charts in various formats from all of the national ice services as a convenient single point of access for mariners.

There are many different types of ice charts intended for varying uses. Climatological, or historical, ice charts depict “normal” ice conditions mainly for advance planning of maritime operations. Ice analysis charts show current ice conditions in a given area and are the basic information aimed at enhancing marine safety for mariners in ice-frequented waters. Depending on need and resources, these are generally produced daily or a few times a week. Finally, concise ice information (commonly ice edge and iceberg positions), along with weather information, is provided to mariners worldwide at least daily by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) for the regions of the Arctic METAREAs XVII-XXI and adjacent areas of METAREAS I, IV and XII. Ice analysis charts are based primarily on satellite imagery received in near real-time at the ice services. Expert ice analysts at the ice services analyze the images, calibrate them with other data such as all-important ship reports, extrapolate to fill gaps in the satellite coverage and make adjustments for time differences between images to prepare the ice analysis charts. To supplement ice analysis charts, some ice services produce forecast ice charts showing the ice conditions expected in a few days. The IICWG is actively promoting the use of POLARIS, a risk assessment tool for Polar mariners, by ensuring that ice charts include the information needed for its application as well as assessing its applicability to the Southern Ocean. The IICWG member services have worked with the Nautical Institute to help define training requirements as well as providing curricula and training materials related to ice navigation.

More information:

  • The Ice Logistics Portal: Operated by the German Hydrographic Service, this site provides convenient access to current ice charts produced by all of the national ice services as well as background information.
  • The Polar View data page: Operated by the British Antarctic Survey, this site provides freely available satellite data and automated ice information products
  • IICWG website: Operated by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this site provides contact information for the national ice services as well as general information about ice information
  • JCOMM website: Provides standards and information publications on sea ice.