This workshop will evaluate the suitability of methods that assess if seafloor integrity is at a level that ensures the structure and function of the ecosystem are safeguarded and benthic ecosystems are not adversely affected. This builds on earlier ICES work for the European Commission's Marine Strategy Framework Directive D6 on Sea-floor integrity, recent developments in the Regional Seas Conventions, and scientific projects on various indicators/assessments.
ICES has been tasked with producing a catalogue of supporting information on suitable methods that assess adverse effects on seabed habitats. The EU Technical group on seabed habitats and sea-floor integrity (TG Seabed) has provided input on potential methods, as will this workshop.
The workshop will review and provide input on an agreed set of criteria to evaluate methods and how the methods can be used to assess adverse effects on seabed habitats. ICES has previously produced criteria on what makes a good indicator in general (e.g. WGECO, Rice and Rochet 2005) as well as for specifically assessing seafloor habitats (WKBENTH 2017). This workshop will also suggest ways to analytically compare the performance of the methods. A further task of WKBENTH2 is to scope methods and criteria to set thresholds for adverse effects on seabed habitats and suggest operational options that can be illustrated using worked examples.
Both the technical service review of suitable assessment methods and the WKBENTH2 report will be peer-reviewed. The review, along with the technical work, will form the basis of a further workshop (3–7 October 2022) that will evaluate proposed assessment methods and how to set thresholds for assessing adverse effects on seabed habitats.
ICES will then deliver and publish advice on the review and evaluation of assessment methods, using worked examples on suitable methods to set thresholds by December 2022.
WKBENTH2 is chaired by Dave Reid (Ireland), Daniel van Denderen (USA), and Jan Geert Hiddink (UK). It meets 24–26 May and 8-10 June 2022, with the option to participate in person at ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen or online. The workshop is intentionally spread over two sessions with a week between them and will have short plenaries to allow time for individual/sub-group tasks.