Working Group on the Integrated Assessments of the Norwegian Sea



WGINORWGINORTrueBenjamin Planque, Anna ÓlafsdóttirIEASG12/4/2012 10:56:00 AMbenjamin.planque@hi.no, anna.olafsdottir@hafogvatn.is658Working Group on the Integrated Assessments of the Norwegian Sea

The Working Group on the Integrated Assessments of the Norwegian Sea (WGINOR) aims to conduct and further develop Integrated Ecosystem Assessments for the Norwegian Sea as a step towards implementing the ecosystem approach.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​According to Levin et al., 2009, a key component of ecosystem based management is a holistic assessment of the status of marine ecosystem, and an integrated assessment is a formal synthesis and quantitative analysis of information on relevant natural and socioeconomic factors. It is WGINOR’s role to develop an operational approach for integrated assessment of the Norwegian Sea ecosystem based on the common framework that is starting to emerge as a result of integrated assessment groups operating in several ICES areas in the Norwegian Sea for some years.

The biomass of ​​ planktivorous fish in the Norwegian Sea seems to have been close to or above the carrying capacity for some time (Skjoldal et al., 2004; Huse et al., 2012), and there has consequently been a lot of focus on the interplay between zooplankton production and fish biomass and predation. WGINOR will also look at the consequences of potential interannual variability in the area’s primary production. This will indeed be a key topic for the working group, and multispecies and ecosystem models will be used to investigate this issue further along with the integrated assessment. Fishing, despite some petroleum exploration in the outskirts of the Norwegian Sea, represents by far the most important anthropogenic impact on this ecosystem. The model analyses will be an integrated part of WGINOR’s assessment.

In traditional single stock assessmen​t the focus is only on providing an absolute abundance estimate of the target species. However, when addressing multispecies interactions and carrying capacities of different trophic levels in ecosystems, it becomes important to establish absolute abundance levels for the different components in order to quantify the combined effect of consumption and flows between the different trophic levels. WGINOR will therefore put an effort on providing estimates for absolute abundance of the key components in the Norwegian Sea ecosystem. WGINOR will also focus on addressing the survey data collection for such an analysis and requirements for performing integrated assessments.

The Norwegian Sea is a deep water basin with an average depth of 1800 m and is situated between Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen, and Spitsbergen. The area holds great zooplankton biomassess and is a key feeding area for planktivorous fish stocks such as Norwegian spring spawning herring, blue whiting, and Northeast Atlantic mackerel.


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