Marine renewable resources are heavily exploited worldwide, leading to significant environmental disturbances and socio-economic impacts. It is now generally accepted that a shift towards a sustainable and profitable exploitation of marine resources requires the integration of ecosystem knowledge, which is also reflected in recent marine policy frameworks. However, the implementation of an ecosystem approach to marine resource management is intricate and subject to scientific and political debate. The recently implemented European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which commits EU Member States to implement management measures by 2015 and ensure good environmental status of European seas by 2020, and the recently reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy, which puts major emphasis on the ecosystem approach to fisheries management are two cases in point. Similar provisions are in other legal frameworks, such as the US Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Canadian Fisheries Act.
Examples around the world show that the rapid progress in fisheries and marine genetics and genomics provides major opportunities to strongly support an ecosystem-based marine resource management, particularly when integrated with other approaches. However, there remains the need to systematically and coherently underpin existing management schemes with genetic/genomic information and to integrate such information fully into existing fisheries and marine living resource data collection schemes, such as the EU Data Collection Framework.
For this session, we invite contributions that present the current status of the application of genetic and genomic approaches to marine management, their benefits, and obstacles to their routine application. We welcome the consideration of a broad spectrum of natural renewable resource management targets and aspects, including aquaculture. Studies may span the integration of genetic analyses with approaches such as habitat mapping and fisheries modelling, as well as linking genetic diversity with ecosystem functionality, resilience of harvested species, trophic interactions, and cost-benefit estimates. We expect this session to raise awareness among researchers and stakeholders and to facilitate the integration of genetics and genomics into a holistic approach to an ecosystem-based marine resource management.