ICES Annual Science Conference 2022

Theme session B

Spatial management, climate change and biodiversity

Wednesday 21 September 15:30 - 17:30
Thursday 22 September 13:00 - 14:30
President's terrace

​​​​​​​​​​While climate change is a key challenge for sustainable marine spatial management, few existing marine spatial plans and sectoral area-based management tools consider climate change explicitly. This is a critical oversight in a rapidly changing world.

This session provides an opportunity to discuss the latest advances in developing climate-smart marine spatial plans and implementing area-based fishery management measures that support biodiversity, highlighting limitations and opportunities of taking different approaches, and raising awareness on this key topic among scientists, decision-makers, and stakeholders.​

The session promotes a critical debate around the multiple pathways, challenges, and benefits of ensuring a healthy and resilient ocean in the age of climate change through the development of climate-smart MSP initiatives and the implementation of ABFMs that support biodiversity. We also intend to raise awareness among marine managers, planners, and decision-makers on the key relevance of these topics. 

Contributions that relate to the following main topics are welcomed: 

  • the integration of knowledge on climate change into marine spatial plans (e.g., modelling and mapping tools, risk and vulnerability analyses, sea-use scenarios); and, ways to support dynamic and flexible ocean planning and management initiatives (e.g., dynamic ocean management, anticipatory zoning, adaptive law, adaptive governance);
  • the identification and quantification of biodiversity benefits associated to ABFMs (e.g., closures to protect essential fish habitat, vulnerable marine ecosystems, fish spawning and nursery areas); and, pathways to support effective, equitable and sustainable ocean management and governance, particularly in the context of OECMs

​Over the past two decades, the concept and practice of marine spatial management have spread widely around the world to promote sustainable ocean use and conservation. Formal marine spatial planning (MSP) initiatives are under development in over 70 nations and will likely keep expanding across ocean basins in the forthcoming decade. The role of other area-based management approaches to support a healthy ocean (e.g., other effective area-based conservation measures – OECMs) is also expanding around the globe.

Under a changing ocean, however, areas where human activities are most amenable to take place today, together with conservation areas, will be modified, thus challenging established marine spatial plans and sectoral area-based management tools. There will be new use-use conflicts, new environmental pressures, and new legal issues. To respond to these changes and effectively support a sustainable and equitable use of the ocean, marine spatial management initiatives will need to be “climate-smart”, integrating climate-related information and foreseeing adaptation pathways, along with being “conservation smart”, truly supporting biodiversity and ecosystems health.

However, to date few of the existing marine spatial plans and sectoral area-based management tools consider climate change explicitly. This is a critical oversight in a rapidly changing world. At the same time, a new 10-year strategy for nature conservation is being negotiated as part of the United Nations Convention on ​Biological Diversity (CBD). The strategy requires that governments and other regulatory bodies protect and conserve at least 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030 – the so called “30 by 30" target – to maintain healthy oceans, support ecosystem resilience against climate change, and improve food security. The CBD recognizes that both MSP initiatives and area-based fishery management measures (ABFMs) can play an important role in protecting biodiversity, and that if such benefits can be demonstrated and sustained, they have the potential to make a significant contribution to meeting the “30 by 30" target. 

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Catarina Frazão Santos (Portugal)​
Andrew Kenny (UK)
Tundi Agardy​ (USA)
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Theme session B

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