What are "Other effective area-based conservation measures" and how can they be identified?

Join ICES/IUCN-CEM FEG Workshop on Testing OECM Practices and Strategies in March 2021 to explore if area-based fisheries management measures may be identified as “other effective area-based conservation measures".
Published: 11 December 2020

​​​​​“The Workshop on Testing OECM Practices and Strategies ​​(WKTOPS) offers the opportunity for experts to evaluate the guidance generated by the IUCN-CEM Fisheries Expert Group for identifying Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) applied to case study Area-based fisheries management measures (ABFM). The operational evaluation generated by WKTOPS will have global relevance to reporting on the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (particularly Goal 14 Life below water)"​ - Ellen Kenchington, Bedford Institute of Oceanography​, WKTOPS co-chair​.

Register for WKTOPS which take place online from 15-24 March.​​​

Other effective area-based conservation measures​

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets were established in 2010 as part of the Convention of Biodiversity's (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020​. Now in 2020, countries worldwide are reporting on their progress regarding the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and in the coming year will be developing their successors. 

There is considerable interest in the scientific community and among fisheries managers and policy-makers in exploring the extent to which area-based fisheries management measures (ABFMs) may contribute significantly enough to biodiversity conservation to be identified as “other effective area-based conservation measures" (OECM). The term OECM first appeared in Aichi Target 11, but went undefined until the CBD Decision 14/8 in 2018. There is now a need to ensure there is clear and workable guidance on how to translate the Decision into actions by jurisdictions that manage ocean pressures, particularly fisheries, and to allow Parties and other authorities to then apply that guidance in their reporting to CBD. 

For the entire 2010s, mainstreaming biodiversity into all natural resource sectors, including fisheries, has been a priority – to which both ICES and IUCN/CEM/FEG have provided extensive knowledge and support. Many initiatives to strengthen biodiversity conservation in fisheries policy and management have already been made, and biodiversity benefits are starting to accrue from that initiatives. However, recognition of these efforts and the benefits they have produced is inconsistent and their documentation incomplete. 

Having appropriate ABFMs recognized as delivering outcomes expected of OECMs will both give jurisdictions credit for efforts that have already made, and provide guidance and an incentive for further expanding ABFMS of types that effectively mainstream biodiversity conservation in fisheries management.  In addition, the impacts of many current ABFMs have been fully assimilated by fisheries, dispelling concerns in some parts of the fishing industry that measures to improve conservation of biodiversity have to come at high cost to their operations. ​


On the partnership of ICES and IUCN/CEM/FEG, co-chair Jake Rice states, "Both have well-earned reputations for doing sound, evidence-based science, and objectively informing development of policies and management actions by marine authorities. ICES has wide experience as the source of expert advice to a range of management authorities, including fisheries (NEAFC  and EU DG MARE) and biodiversity conservation (OSPAR and EU DG Environment ), plus member countries in the North Atlantic. FEG has worked closely with both FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture and the CBD Marine and Coastal programme on fisheries and biodiversity conservation globally".

"The pairing", notes Rice, "to test a document intended to provide operational guidance on identifying OECMs arising from fishery measures- seems natural, linking global and regional expertise and experience, high science rigour and credibility, and confidence from a broad spectrum of policy and management authorities". 

The workshop efforts and resulting report will present a better understanding of what OECMs are and how they could be identified, with the workshop focus on the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Workshop participants - whether rooted in ICES or IUCN/CEM/FEG - should gain a greater ability to help at national, regional, and global levels to ensure ABFMs and OECMs fulfill their potential as tools to bring fisheries and management and biodiversity conservation closer together in effective collaborations.


If you are interested in participating, co-chairs Ellen Kenchington and Jake Rice, are casting a wide net. "In terms of disciplinary knowledge, we welcome experts in fisheries assessment and management, biodiversity conservation, the ecosystem approach to fisheries, evaluation of the effectiveness of management measures in both fisheries and biodiversity conservation, and the application of science to policy. In terms of experience, the mix is complex – working at the interface of fisheries and biodiversity,  providing advice to authorities in both areas, and knowledge of actual implementation of area-based measures in both fields, including the relevance processes in governance." 

Interested participants are asked to complete an Express of Interest Form and return it to the WKTOPS supporting officer​ by 8 January 2020. 

Register for WKTOPS which take place online from 15-24 March.​

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The term "Other effective area-based conservation measures" (OECM) first appeared in Aichi Target 11. In 2020, countries worldwide are reporting on their progress regarding the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, established in 2010 as part of the Convention of Biodiversity's (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020.

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What are "Other effective area-based conservation measures" and how can they be identified?

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