ICES Annual Science Conference 2024

Theme session D

Marine food webs and Ecosystem-based Management
​​Progress towards ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been slow despite multiple governments committing to its implementation. Technical challenges and the uncertainty of complex models are often cited as reasons for the slow integration of ecosystem information into management decisions. There is growing consensus that the structural inertia of management systems has also hindered EBM. Calls to implement EBM are growing, with the foresight that it is better to act now with the information we have than to halt progress in the face of climate and biodiversity emergencies.

Understanding the structure of marine food webs and how they, as well as the services they support, respond when perturbed is a fundamental prerequisite of EBM. This understanding can help to identify trade-offs and assess the risks of ocean uses as well as the risks of failing to respond to pressures such as climate change.
Food web research is renowned across ICES community and ICES is seeing growing requests for ecosystem-based advice. Given this, how readily can ICES access and communicate food web information?

This theme session provides an opportunity to review the latest advances in food web research, explore needs and pragmatic solutions for integration into ICES advice, and consider how complex food web models can be more systematically applied across ICES ecoregions. 

Three topics will be discussed during the session:
  1. Food web indicators from the front line: how is food web information being used to evaluate progress towards national, international, and global objectives?
  2. Priority areas for the integration of food web information: where and how could the inclusion of food web/ecosystem information enhance current ICES advice and management decisions?
  3. Transparent use of food web models: how can we systematically and transparently use food web models to support ICES advice with information on trade-offs?​

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Jacob Bentley (UK)
Eider Andonegi (Spain)
Maciej Tomczak ​(Sweden)​
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Theme session D

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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