WGIBARs aim is to summarize and analyze up-to-date knowledge on the state of the Barents Sea ecosystem. Furthermore, the group will assist adaptive management by promoting input to monitoring strategies and advice as part of holistic Barents Sea management.
The Barents Sea is a 1.6 million km2 high-latitude shelf sea that borders the Polar Basin to the north, the Norwegian Sea basin to the west, and the coasts of Norway and Russia to the south and east respectively. It sustains some of the largest fisheries in the North Atlantic, with the eponymous cod stock being the worlds' largest.
After a period of overfishing in the 1980s, fish stocks there are now harvested sustainably. Other than fishing, development of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the area is imminent. This strong human presence places great demands on both monitoring and the capacity for science-based advice.
Considering these changes in terms of management will be an ongoing and efficient process in which WGIBAR aims to play an important role. Climate change and current reduction of ice cover in the northern Arctic region is leading to rapid changes in the Barents Sea ecosystem.