Amongst many other things, marine organizations have to be able to react in synchrony with changes in the scientific and policy landscapes, and there is an increasing need for science and advice to take into account aspects of coastal and oceanic ecosystems beyond the traditional realm of fish.
Commitments to lighting the way forward in this emerging field – known as Integrated Ecosystem Understanding – were pledged by ICES Council of Delegates during a late October meeting at ICES Secretariat in Copenhagen. The group, comprising representatives from each of the organization's 20 member countries, documented the decision in the new Strategic Plan that charts the course for ICES for the next five years from 2014-2018.
To support the move towards Integrated Ecosystem Understanding, the Council opted to establish a special Science Fund. This will help finance a number of research proposals, a request for which will be announced this month alongside more details on the ICES website.
"The new ICES Strategic Plan commits to building a foundation of science that depends on improving our understanding of marine ecosystems, and producing integrated advice needed by decision-makers that is based on timely and accurate data and information," said ICES president Paul Connolly.
Integrated ecosystem assessment and an ecosystem-based approached to ocean management serve several crucial legal frameworks toward which ICES work helps contribute such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) and the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
The initial aim is for the plan to be published on the ICES website in December.
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