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Biotic Ocean Resources

Marine ecosystems provide many goods and services valuable to mankind that need to be managed in a sustainable way. The Working Group on Biotic Ocean Resources assessed the scientific needs to support the implantation of a proper integrated “Ecosystem Approach to management” of human activities that impact living resources. The activities aimed to recommend new research approaches, complement ongoing activities and provide a roadmap for the future integration of the dynamic interaction between marine ecosystems and human activities into institutional advice.


Position Paper 14, Science Dimensions of an Ecosystem Approach to Management of Biotic Ocean Resources (April 2010)


Marine ecosystems are complex and dynamic natural units that produce many goods and services. Because all human activities have a direct and indirect impact on ecosystems, they need to be managed in an ecosystem context and their management needs to be integrated. Many goods and services provided by marine ecosystems including fisheries yields depend on the health and integrity of those ecosystems. In the light of exploited ecosystems and the impacts resulting from fisheries and other activities an “Ecosystem Approach to Management” (EAM) is essential to ensure the availability of the goods and services of marine ecosystems in the long term.

And EAM must include research linking human and ecosystem sciences; methodological research to evaluate the effectives of terrestrial management strategies and tools when applied to marine ecosystems and clarify the nature of any necessary adaptations; research to build the capacity to assess impacts of human activities, singly or in combination on marine ecosystems, and partition effects of different anthropogenic and natural stressors on these ecosystems.


  • Understanding the dynamics and resilience of populations, communities, and ecosystems.
  • Describing and analyzing the dynamics of human uses from the multiple perspective of ecology, economy and governance
  • Developing strategies and techniques for observation, monitoring, mapping, assessment, decision support and experimental paradigms
  • Analyzing the functioning and effectiveness of management and governance systems
  • Developing tools for knowledge transfer



  • 16 September 2009, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium
  • 1 -3 April 2009, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium
  • 17 – 18 November 2008, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium
  • 17 April 2008, ESF-COST Office, Brussels, Belgium



  • Co-Chair: Jake Rice, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada
  • Co-Chair: Ricardo Santos, Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal
  • Working Group members:
  • Fatima Borges, National Research Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries (IPIMAR), Portugal
  • Anthony Grehan, National University of Ireland (NUI), Ireland
  • Andrew Kenny, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), United Kingdom
  • Harald Loeng, Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway
  • Francesc Maynou, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain
  • Hein Rune Skjoldal, Institute of Marine Re- search (IMR), Norway
  • Olivier Thébaud, French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), France
  • Vasiliki Vasilopoulou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Greece
  • Filip Volckaert, University of Leuven, Belgium


Contact at European Marine Board Secretariat: Email