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Aligning institutions with ecosystems for marine science
David L. Fluharty
School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, 3707 Brooklyn Ave. NE, Seattle, WA, 98105, U.S.A.
As criteria are being developed to define the extent of ecosystems and interactions at various ecosystem scales,
it is critical that consideration is given to the match with institutional scales for provision of scientific advice
and administration of ecosystem research. Recent efforts to define ecosystems for the United States are
examined in light of assessment of institutional core capacities for providing scientific advice and research in
three regions, i.e., U.S. West Coast, Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands. Current institutional alignments appear to
be workable at large scale but more difficult to provide at scales relevant to nearshore resource processes and
where ecosystems are transboundary.
Bioregionalisation and ecosystem-based management in Australia
Elizabeth Fulton, Vincent Lyne and Donna Hayes
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001, Australia. E-mail:
A critical factor in the successful implementation of ecosystem-based management is to be dealing (as far as
possible) with appropriate spatial regions. While managing at the level of an eco-region is not a guarantee in
itself for successful management outcomes, it has been shown repeatedly that trying to manage across regions
with very different conditions (physical and ecological) makes the task much more difficult, if not impossible.
As part of Australia’s move to ecosystem-based management, Australian researchers have been grappling with
the issue of eco-region (or bioregion) definition for a decade now. The resulting hierarchical classification
scheme has been successfully applied across multiple scales and in many system types; and its output is
becoming an accepted component of management support packages – both as maps for use in defining coherent
management areas, but also as part of ecosystem-level modeling tools. This discussion will outline the basic
bioregionalisation scheme, the data and criteria that it uses (physical, chemical and biological) and the
implications for management on different scales.
Selecting model domains and boundaries in ecosystem modeling of the U.S. West Coast:
Process determines scale
Chris J. Harvey, Isaac C. Kaplan and Phillip S. Levin
Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, 2725 Montlake Blvd. E, Seattle, WA, 98112, U.S.A. E-mail:
Major marine ecosystems along the West Coast of the United States are defined in space by both fixed and
dynamic physical boundaries. The dominant feature, the California Current ecosystem, is the eastern limb of the
North Pacific subtropical gyre and flows over the narrow continental shelf and slope. The other major
ecosystems are three large estuaries (Puget Sound, the Columbia River estuary, San Francisco Bay). Each
system can be divided into smaller basins, regions or districts based on physical characteristics, ecological
differences, and artificial boundaries established for governance, management, and conservation. For example,
in our ecosystem model of the northern portion of the California Current, we have delineated 62 polygons based
on oceanography and ecology (depth; upwelling zones; proximity to major coastal features and zoogeographic
boundaries), fisheries management, and data availability. The large model domain is consistent with the scale of
the processes we are examining, namely the influence of climate variability, species interactions, fisheries
effects, and economics, and how different fisheries management strategies will perform given the dynamics of
these processes. Including finer-scale processes, such as localized circulation patterns, habitat patchiness,
eutrophication, species introductions, or establishment of marine reserves, will require model domains on the
scale of one of the smaller ecosystems, such as Puget Sound, or on subregions of the California Current. Both
modeling scales allow us to examine the effects of artificial boundaries, such as political borders or management
zones, which can induce steep mortality gradients on species whose natural ranges or migration patterns cross
Canada’s ecoregion determination approach
Glen Jamieson
Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7, Canada
An important first step in achieving ecosystem-based management (EBM) is the definition within a country of
broad geographical areas, i.e., ecoregions that have a common ecological basis. Each ecoregion would be
managed under a common set of operational objectives to achieve integrated management, with some objectives
at least probably differing among defined ecoregions. In 2004, Fisheries and Oceans evaluated Canada’s marine
waters against three broad categories of criteria: geological, physical oceanographic and biological properties.
The approach adopted was non-hierarchical and was based on overlaying criteria and looking for common
patterns. This process resulted in the identification of 17 ecoregions in Canada: four in the Pacific, six in the
Arctic and seven in the Atlantic. It was also recognized that ecoregions did not terminate at Canada’s
jurisdictional boundaries, and on the Pacific for example, three of the ecoregions were considered to extend into
adjacent American waters. Optimal operational management of trans-boundary species thus requires
collaboration between different management regimes and the sharing of scientific data. Informal collaborative
approaches such as the proposed Big Eddy initiative are presented as a mechanism to help develop appropriate
joint resource management.
Physical and biological criteria for region identification around Japan
Tatsu Kishida
Japan Sea National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research Agency, Suido-cho, Niigata, 951-8121, Japan
I compiled eco-regions around Japan based on both physical oceanography and biological features such as
species composition of fishery resources. According to the compilation, marginal seas located around Japan,
i.e., the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk are highly independent eco-regions. The
northwest Pacific Ocean was divided into two eco-regions, which are the Kuroshio Current (warm current)
system and Oyashio Current (cold current) system, although many fishes and other animals in Kuroshio Current
system migrate seasonally into the transitional region between Kuroshio and Oyashio or Oyashio region for
utilizing the higher productivity of these regions. Each current system is also divided into pelagic and demersal
ecosystems in coastal areas along the Japanese Archipelago.
Fisheries resources are assessed by each stock corresponding to the eco-regions described above, though
restricted to the Japanese EEZ. In Japan TACs are classified by species and allocated to each fishery and
prefecture by political decision to regulate the bias of seasonal or geographical distribution of the fisheries
resources. To avoid competitions among fisheries, for example, between coastal and offshore, fishing ground
restrictions are strictly established.
Marine sub-regions determined with physical and biological criteria in Korean waters
Jae Bong Lee1, Chang Ik Zhang2, Dong Woo Lee1, Jong Hwa Park1 and Jong Hee Lee2
National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, 408-1, Shirang-ri, Gijang-up, Gijang-gun, Busan, 619-902, Republic of Korea
Pukyong National University, 599-1, Daeyeon3-dong, Nam-gu, Busan, 608-737, Republic of Korea
We defined marine sub-regions to plan and engage science-based policies, such as ecosystem-based fisheries
management in Korea. We categorized physical and biological ocean environments using data on seawater
temperature, salinity and density at surface and 50m depth layers, and zooplankton biomass in Korean waters.
These data were taken from 157 stations and stored at the Korea Ocean Data Center (KODC) over 40 years
(1965-2004) and divided water-masses around Korean waters using self-organization mapping (SOM), which is
one of many potential neural network pattern recognition techniques that seek clusters in data using
unsupervised learning methodology. We discussed usage of other criteria to identify the management regions,
such as existing resource management areas and coastal community locations.
Progress in U.S. ecoregion definitions for ocean ecosystems and an Alaskan example
Patricia A. Livingston1 and John F. Piatt2
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115, U.S.A.
USGS, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK, 99508, U.S.A.
U.S. marine fisheries research and management outside state waters is primarily conducted by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA has been advancing an ecosystem approach to
ocean management for a number of years. Recent efforts have led to the designation of Large Marine
Ecosystems (LMEs) for organizing research and management efforts. NOAA Fisheries recently held a
workshop to further advance these efforts by discussing how to move forward in the definition of ecoregions
within U.S. LMEs. We outline here the progress from this workshop and show an example of ecoregion
definition for Alaska and relate it to the U.S. efforts.
Ecosystem typologies in the North Pacific – A useful concept for ecosystem-based
R. Ian Perry
Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7, Canada
Landscapes and ecosystems are relatively easy to identify for terrestrial environments, and have become easier
to identify for marine environments with the development of space-based remote sensors for sea temperature,
winds, and ocean colour. The biogeochemistry community has made great advances in delineating marine
biomes and biogeochemical provinces, and several excellent studies and books have been published. The
marine fisheries community (through FAO) has been collecting fisheries statistics for >50 years within large
ocean areas loosely defined on physical oceanographic characteristics. More recently the concept of Large
Marine Ecosystems has been elaborated, and several have been defined at smaller scales than the FAO regions.
Relatively little work has been done, however, to reconcile and overlap these biogeochemical and fisheriesbased ecosystem typologies, with the Sea Around Us project being a notable exception. Integrating these
typologies raises issues of the match of temporal and spatial scales from physics to plankton to fish, seasonality,
and the sensitivities of these typologies to climate variability and global change. In addition to these ecosystem
typologies, the North Pacific (and other oceans) are overlain with a mesh of fisheries management and reporting
areas which may, or may not, relate to marine ecosystem typologies. As a contribution to the report of PICES
Working Group 19 on “Ecosystem-based management science and its application to the North Pacific”, this
presentation explores the reasons/needs to identify ‘ecosystems’ in the North Pacific for ecosystem-based
management. It reviews the existing ecosystem typologies proposed for the North Pacific, and the network of
national fisheries reporting areas, at regional (coastal) to basin scales. It concludes with a discussion of the
dangers of defining ecosystem-based management areas that are mismatched (larger or smaller) against its
component ecosystem(s). Throughout, the reality of political boundaries must also be recognized.
Archipelagic fishery ecosystem plans for the U.S. central and western Pacific islands
Michael P. Seki1 and Jarad Makaiau2
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI, 96822-2396, U.S.A.
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, 1164 Bishop Street, Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI, 96813, U.S.A
Efforts to advance an ecosystem approach to fishery management for offshore fisheries in the U.S. central and
western Pacific islands have focused on moving from species-based fishery management plans (FMPs) to placebased fishery ecosystem plans (FEPs). Existing FMPs for insular resources (bottomfish, crustaceans, precious
corals, and coral reef resouces) are being restructured as archipelagic fishery ecosystem plans (FEPs). These
include: a Mariana Archipelago FEP (for Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands), a Hawaii Archipelago
FEP, an American Samoa Archipelago, and a Pacific Islands Remote Island Areas FEP (for islands and atolls of
Baker, Howland, Jarvis, Johnston, Palmyra, Wake and Kingman Reef). An existing FMP for pelagic resources
will become a Pacific pelagic FEP. The structural changes will facilitate the incorporation of ecosystem-based
principles into the management of fisheries in the jurisdictional waters surrounding the U.S. Pacific islands.
Criteria relevant to determination of FEP objectives, boundaries, management unit species, advisory group
structure, regional/international coordination and community participation approaches have been vetted through
a series of meetings and workshops. An overview of the process and outcomes are presented here.
Use of the classification and structure of coastal zone macro-vegetation for global and
local eco-regional identification of coastal areas in the North Pacific
Vadim A. Shtrik
Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), 17 Verkhnyaya Krasnoselskaya, Moscow, 107140, Russia
The sub-regional identification scheme of coastal zone for boreal seas of Russia is described. The scheme is
based on detailed analysis of macro algae vegetation of Far East Seas of Russia. The presentation deals with the
problem of classification and correct determination of coastal eco-systems as key-point regions for bio-cycles of
many dominant species of open sea ecosystems. The follow aspects will be discussed in the presentation.
 Structure and classification of macro-vegetation of coastal zone as criteria for eco-region identification
for North Pacific Seas (Russian sector).
 Some examples of local sub-regional identification by method of macro-algae indication (Japanese Sea,
Bering Sea, and Sea of Okhotsk).
 Using the bathymetry analyses of alga flora and zone division of phytocoenoses as indicator of
ecosystem conditions.
 Using the global and local eco-regional identification schemes for monitoring purposes of coastal
ecosystems and for ecosystem-based management of human activities.
Meso-marine ecosystems of the North Pacific:
Application to ecosystem-based
William J. Sydeman1, S.D. Batten2, M. Henry1, C. Rintoul1, D.W. Welch3, K.H. Morgan4 and K.D. Hyrenbach1
PRBO Conservation Science, Marine Ecology Division, 3820 Cypress Drive, Petaluma, CA, 94954, U.S.A.
SAHFOS, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2BP, United Kingdom
Kintama Research, 4737 Vista View Cresent, Nanaimo, BC, V9V 1N8, Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service, c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Road, Sidney, BC, V8L 4B2, Canada
We studied physical and biological variability across the sub-arctic North Pacific Ocean (along a 7,500 km
transect from British Columbia, Canada, to Hokkaido, Japan) to test the hypothesis that “eco-regions” of the
North Pacific are persistent between seasons and years. Plankton samples were collected with a Continuous
Plankton Recorder (CPR) while observers recorded marine birds and mammals. Physical oceanographic
properties were measured using data loggers and XBTs. Temperature and Chlorophyll-a concentrations were
obtained from satellite imagery. Using multi-dimensional clustering of physics, plankton and top predator data
for data collected in 2002, we identified 10 distinct North Pacific biological communities (eco-regions) which
we term “meso-marine ecosystems” (MMEs). MMEs have clear bathymetric and boundary current associations
(Batten et al., 2006, DSR II). Using data from all years (2002-2005), we now investigate the temporal
persistence of MMEs over 4 years and 3 seasons (winter, summer, fall). Eco-regional boundaries were
persistent through time, but varied, to a certain extent, by season. Regular monitoring of MMEs, including
dynamic changes in plankton and predator communities, will enhance our ability to detect the ecosystem
fluctuations that affect fish and other species, thereby promoting an ecosystem-approach to ocean resource