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Models of the World’s Large Marine Ecosystems

by admin last modified Dec 01, 2008 01:43 PM
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission technical series GEF/LME global project Promoting Ecosystem-based Approaches to Fisheries Conservation and Large Marine Ecosystems UNESCO 2008 * As submitted to IOC Technical Series, UNESCO, 22 October 2008 We present a new methodology for database-driven ecosystem model generation and apply the methodology to the world’s 66 currently-defined large marine ecosystems. The method relies on a large number of spatial and temporal databases, including FishBase, SeaLifeBase, as well as several other database developed as part of the Sea Around Us project. The models are formulated using the Ecopath with Ecosim modeling approach and software, and are made available to GEF/LME projects for further development. We tune the models by fitting to available time series data, but recognize that the models represent only a first-generation of database-driven ecosystem models. The biggest hurdles at present to further model development and validation are insufficient time series trend information, and data on spatial fishing effort. We will be further developing the models, as this is one of the major activities of the Sea Around Us project, and encourage GEF/LME projects to participate in the process, notably by enriching the models through addition of more local and regional data. We here use the models to summarize information about fisheries catch and value in the LMEs. Acknowledgements This activity was funded by the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Environment Programme, through the UNESCO/IOC activity Promoting Ecosystem-based Approaches to Fisheries Conservation in LME’s (Global activity), Component 2.a (UNESCO Contract Number 4500039066). The activity was made possible through the activities and support of the Sea Around Us project, initiated and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. We also thank the Lenfest Oceans Program for funding the redevelopment of the Ecopath with Ecosim software, a necessary requirement for the present activity. We further thank Dr Kenneth Sherman, NOAA, for defining the project scope through many interesting discussions, seeing it through the GEF funding process, as well as for his sustained support of the research and capacity building that this activity has resulted in.

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